Wednesday’s call fulfills a promise by Obama to get involved in Mideast peacemaking from ‘day one’ of his presidency.
Presidential aide Saeb Erekat says Obama called President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday to say he hopes to work toward peace ‘in full partnership’ with the Palestinian leader.
Abbas governs in the West Bank, and is a rival to Hamas, which rules Gaza.
Israelis and Palestinians have eagerly followed Obama’s inauguration. On both sides, people are waiting to see how the new president faces his first international challenge – the fallout from Israel’s Gaza offensive, which ended over the weekend.