Lapid meets senior Palestinian minister in surprise move

Hussein Al Sheikh, charged with civilian and security coordination with Israel, is a close ally of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and considered a contender to replace him; Bennett, Gantz advised of the meeting ahead of time

Elior Levy|
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday met with a senior member of the Palestinian Authority and a close ally of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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  • Hussein al Sheikh in his ministerial capacity oversees civilian and security coordination between the PA and Israel.
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    השר הפלסטיני לענייני אזרחים ובכיר פת"ח חוסיין א-שייח
    השר הפלסטיני לענייני אזרחים ובכיר פת"ח חוסיין א-שייח
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian minister Hussein al Sheikh
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was advised of the meeting ahead of time, as was Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
    Lapid was reported to have met earlier this month with Majid Faraj - the PA's chief of intelligence.
    The Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the meeting,
    Palestinian sources said al-Sheikh hoped to bring up matters of policy concerning Israeli-Palestinian relations, among other things, during the meeting.
    Israel's coalition government is made up of parties on both sides of the political spectrum and has agreed to refrain from irreversible moves regarding the future of the West Bank and the resolution of the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.
    Hussein al Sheikh is considered a possible contender to replace Abbas as president and is seen as one of the stronger politicians in the Palestinian leadership.
    Gantz hosted the Palestinian president at his home last month, a meeting that was followed by Israeli confidence-building measures that included an addition of hundreds of work-permits in Israel for Palestinians in the West Bank.
    Al Sheikh who was present at that meeting said it was a last ditch effort to prevent a crisis in the relations between Israel and the PA

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