Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom met twice on Wednesday at a United Nations technology summit in Tunisia. This was the highest-level contact between the two sides in months, Reuters.
The first encounter between the two was by chance. "It was an unscheduled meeting. They met by accident," an Israeli official said.
The official said Shalom expressed Israel's opposition to Hamas participation in the Palestinian parliamentary election set to take place in January. Abbas, the official said, expressed his satisfaction over an agreement brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday to open Gaza Strip's border crossing to Egypt.
Abbas said a civil war would erupt if he banned Hamas. "Hamas is trying to shake up your government and as far as we are concerned, Hamas is a terror organisation," one of the Israeli officials quoted Shalom as telling Abbas.