In a 2.5 hour meeting the defense minister says Israel would take measures to strengthen the Palestinian economy as the two leaders discuss ‘all aspects’ if Israeli Palestinian relations including security in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
https://www.ynetnews.com-Liad Osmo, Yoav Zitun, Reuters |
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas(Photo: Avi Moalem, Reuters)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, officials said.
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.
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.”
Palestinian demonstrators protest along the Israeli Gaza border on Sunday
The meeting lasted 2.5 hours that 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, Gant said the PA must be supported and bolstered in strength.
“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 the Gaza ruling Hamas terror group.
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.
Israel’s new government includes a patchwork of parties spanning the far left to far right and includes for the first time a small Islamist faction.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads an ultranationalist party, opposes Palestinian statehood. But given the makeup of his coalition, any sensitive policy decisions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be difficult.
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.