Benny Gantz approved a string of trust-building concessions following his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Defense Minister’s Office announced Wednesday.
Gantz hosted Abbas at his personal residence in the Israeli city of Rosh Haayin on Tuesday evening in what was the first meeting of the Palestinian leader inside Israel since 2010.
The concessions and reliefs approved by Gantz include the addition of hundreds of entry permits for Palestinian businessmen as well as for Palestinian vehicles, additional VIP permits for dozens of PA officials, and the advancement of tax payments to the authority worth NIS 100 million.
In addition, Gantz okayed the status approval of some 6,000 Palestinian residents of the West Bank and 3,500 Gazans in the PA’s Population Registry, which is under Israeli control - meaning Israel will officially recognized the legal status of thousands of Palestinians, which will allow them freedom of movement within the Palestinian territories.
The defense minister added there are a number of additional economic measures on the agenda, including lowering the handling fees for fuel purchases for the territories, the creation of an online VAT platform for Palestinians, as well as the creation of a dedicated digital platform that will enable Israeli employers to pay Palestinian workers on the spot.
These measures, among others, are expected to add hundreds of millions of shekels to the authority's budget every year.
Gantz and Abbas reportedly also discussed the need to approve additional outlines that would benefit the Palestinians, including of "additional building programs" in the West Bank.
The Defense Minister's Office added that the meeting and the concessions were part of an effort to "avoid a third intifada."