Bennett’s office: no plans to meet with Abbas

September 2, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had no plans to meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas, his office clarified yesterday after the media had reported on a pending meeting.

Minister of Education Naftali Bennet at the 15th Jerusalem Conference. Feb 12, 2018. Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS *

The Prime Minister’s Office clarified that the report in the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Bennett’s scheduled meeting with Abbas was “incorrect.”

“There was no intention to hold a meeting between the prime minister and the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and no such meeting is expected. President [Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi invited the prime minister to a meeting in Egypt and the prime minister will meet with him soon.”

An Egyptian source quoted by the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper said that Bennett was scheduled to attend a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh with Abbas, Egyptian President al-Sisi, and King of Jordan Abdullah II.

However, the idea was eventually changed to a triple summit without Bennet, for the purpose of adopting a united Arab position before talks with the US regarding negotiations between Israel and the PA.

The report and the denial come just days after Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a member of Bennett’s government, met with Abbas in Ramallah, the first time a senior Israeli official had met with Abbas since 2010.

Bennett returned from a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, during which Bennett reportedly promised the Biden administration he would provide civilian relief to the PA and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Gantz reportedly agreed to a list of concessions to the PA, including a NIS 500 million loan, the possible release of bodies of terrorists held by Israel, and granting residency status to 5,000 Arabs in the PA.

This meeting has created tension within the coalition, with its right factions opposing the apparent rapprochement, and the left-wing factions supporting it.

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