World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday and said he expected him to help in efforts to find three Israeli teenagers abducted in the occupied West Bank.
"I expect you to help in the return of the kidnapped youngsters and in catching the abductors," a statement issued by the prime minister's office quoted Netanyahu as telling Abbas in a telephone call.
On Sunday, Gilad Erdan, a minister in Netanyahu's security cabinet, told Israeli television that Abbas's security forces were "willingly" helping search for the teenagers.
A statement on Monday by Abbas's office made no mention of the conversation with Netanyahu. But it said the "Palestinian presidency condemns ... the kidnapping of three Israeli boys and the series of Israeli violations" -- a reference to Israeli military raids and arrests since they disappeared on Thursday.
Both leaders have had infrequent telephone conversations in recent years, usually to convey greetings on Jewish and Muslim holidays.
Netanyahu broke off Israel's peace talks with Abbas in April after the Western-backed leader signed a unity deal with Israel's bitter enemy, the Hamas Islamist group the runs the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, Netanyahu said Hamas members had kidnapped the three teenagers. Hamas dismissed what it called Netanyahu's "stupid comments" and suggested he was trying to draw the group into disclosing whether it was behind the abduction.
Israel bans family visits for Palestinian detainees
Israeli authorities on Monday banned inmates of Nafha Prison, located some 200km from Jerusalem, from receiving family visits.
"The Israelis told us that prisoners' relatives would not be able to visit them this time," Nasser al-Naggar, spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told Anadolu Agency.
The Israeli authorities, he said, had told the committee that the decision was taken following the closure of the Erez Crossing, a Gaza-Israel border crossing (controlled by the latter) frequently used for the movement of persons between the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
Israel on Sunday closed the Erez and Karam Abu Salem crossings, the strip's last remaining functioning crossings.
The move was accompanied by accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which is based in Gaza, was responsible for the disappearance last week of three teenage Jewish settlers in the southern part of the West Bank.
The Israeli Prison Service used to allow inmates to receive family visits on Mondays. These visits, however, are often banned whenever the self-proclaimed Jewish state wants to take punitive measures against Hamas in Gaza, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, or the Palestinians in general.Last Mod: 16 Haziran 2014, 12:28