A statement from Mr Sharon’s office said the Israeli PM welcomed Mr Abbas’s landslide election victory and wished him success.

It’s believed they spoke about a meeting in general terms but no date was set.

Less than two days into the job, and even before he has been sworn in as President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr Abbas unveiled sweeping reforms to the sprawling security infrastructure.

The number of Palestinian security services will be cut from 11 to three and the national security council will be headed by the prime minister, Ahmed Qorei, rather than the president of the Palestinian Authority.

The legislation, which parliament will vote on, was drawn up by Rawhi Fattuh, the acting head of the authority who will stand down when Mr Abbas is sworn in.

Streamlining the security apparatus was long promised by the late leader Yasser Arafat, but never implemented.

The battle for its control caused political infighting and poisoned relations between Mr Arafat and Mr Abbas when the latter was prime minister in 2003.

In another sign of a break with the Arafat era, former national security advisor Jibril Rajub submitted his resignation.

The role of the Palestinian security services has been severely limited in recent years, with Israel refusing to allow its members to carry weapons in West Bank cities, although they can do so in Gaza.

An Israeli security source said Mr Sharon was ready to turn over most occupied territory to Palestinian policing — meaning a halt to army raids and removal of checkpoints — if Mr Abbas demonstrated “a 100 percent effort” to subdue militants.

But while Mr Abbas wants extremists to halt attacks, he has rejected Israeli demands to crush the militants, calling them “freedom fighters” whom he wants to integrate into the Palestinian mainstream.

Signalling the tough challenge ahead for Mr Abbas, Palestinian militants resumed rocket and mortar fire at Jewish settlements in Gaza.

A halt to Palestinian violence and a freeze on Israeli settlement building are twin preconditions for the roadmap peace process.

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