In a small sign of thawing relations Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has lifted a ban on contacts with the Palestinian Authority.
Senior security officials on both sides will now hold talks on ending violence in the occupied Gaza Strip.The ban was put in place last week after six Israelis were killed in a Gaza border area. It came as Abbas gave the go ahead for his security services to deploy along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel to thwart militant attacks. He has also been meeting militant leaders in an effort to persuade them to sign up to a truce. But Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath pointed out the need cooperation. “Our aim is to reach a total ceasefire, that is committed to by both Palestinians and Israelis. No ceasefire in the world can succeed if only one party maintains it,” he said. There is hope that step-by-step, these small moves will one day lead to peace.