Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Gantz holds rare meeting with PA's Abbas in Ramallah

PM source says no change in Israeli policy towards Palestinian Authority and no 'diplomatic process'; defense minister says Israel would take measures to strengthen Palestinian economy as the two leaders discuss 'all aspects' of Israeli-Palestinian relations

Liad Osmo, Yoav Zitun, Reuters |
Updated: 08.30.21, 09:23
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, officials said.
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  • It was the highest-level meeting between Abbas and an Israeli minister to be made public since Israel's new government was formed in June and the highest-level meeting of an Israeli official to meet with Abbas since 2010.
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    בני גנץ אבו מאזן
    בני גנץ אבו מאזן
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: Avi Moalem, Reuters)
    Gantz told Abbas that Israel would take measures to strengthen the Palestinian economy, according to a statement from his office.
    "They also discussed shaping the security and economic situations in the West Bank and in Gaza," the statement said. "They agreed to continue communicating further on the issues that were raised during the meeting."
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    יחידות ההטרדה הלילית הגיעו לגבול עזה
    יחידות ההטרדה הלילית הגיעו לגבול עזה
    Palestinian demonstrators protest along the Israeli Gaza border on Sunday
    A source close to PBennett said on Monday that "there is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one," following the meeting.
    The source added that "the meeting between Gantz and Abu Mazen [Abbas] was approved in advance by the prime minister. The meeting covered routine issues between the defense establishment and the Palestinian Authority."
    The meeting, which lasted 2.5 hours, began with a 40 minutes private session of the two leaders.
    Hussein Al-Sheikh, a member of Abbas' Fatah Central Committee, said the discussion included "all aspects" of Palestinian-Israeli relations.
    Following the May fighting between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza, Gantz said the PA must be supported and bolstered in strength.
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    פינוי הריסות בעזה
    פינוי הריסות בעזה
    Destruction in Gaza after the May fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Strip
    (Photo: EPA)
    "I think the PA must have a greater role and must be strengthened in the West Bank and in Gaza with the participation of the U.S., Europe and other Arab nations in the region," Gantz told reporters in a briefing in May, adding that the rebuilding in the Strip should be facilitated through the PA and without the involvement of Hamas.
    Peace talks between the two sides collapsed in 2014, though Israel over the past year has reached normalization agreements with a number of Arab countries, under U.S. sponsorship.
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    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט נפגש עם נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
    ראש הממשלה נפתלי בנט נפגש עם נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
    U.S. President Joe Biden with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House on Friday
    (Photo: GPO)
    The meeting in Ramallah came just a couple of days after Bennett met with U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House, during which Biden reiterated support for a two-state solution.

    First published: 07:17, 08.30.21
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