Israeli Defence Minister Gantz hosts PA head Abbas

December 29, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Defence Minister Benny Gantz has met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz                          Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The meeting took place at Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha’Ayin where they held “a discussion on a number of security and civilian topics.”

According to a statement by the Defence Ministry, Gantz informed Abbas of “his intention to continue advancing confidence-building measures in economic and civilian areas, as was determined in their previous meeting.”

Gantz and Abbas met in Ramallah in August, the first time since 2010 that a senior Israeli official has met with Abbas. Israel has since made significant civilian concessions to the PA.

Gantz “emphasized the parties’ shared interest in deepening security coordination, maintaining regional stability and preventing terror and violence,” the statement said.

The meeting came as acts of Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria, in areas under the control of the PA, are on the rise.

The meeting was attended by the head of the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Rassan Aliyan, and the PA’s Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein a-Sheikh, who is responsible for civilian and security coordination with Israel, and PA Chief of Intelligence Majed Faraj.

A-Sheikh stated that the meeting “dealt with the importance of creating a political horizon that leads to a political solution in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions, as well as the regional tensions due to the practices of settlers, and the meeting dealt with many security, economic and humanitarian issues.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was updated on the meeting.

The Hamas terrorist organization condemned Abbas’ meeting “with the criminal Zionist Minister of War Gantz” as “a knife in the back of our people and its sacrifice, and a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.”

Abbas “continues to give up national values and works to beautify the face of the occupation. He does not represent our people but only himself,” Hamas stated.

The reactions in the Israeli political system were mixed.

Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, of the left-wing Meretz party, welcomed the meeting. “Strengthening ties and striving for a political solution are in the paramount interest of the two peoples,” he tweeted.

However, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party stated that “Bennett’s Israeli-Palestinian government has returned Abu Mazen [Abbas] and the Palestinians to the agenda. Dangerous concessions to Israel’s security are only a matter of time. The Bennett-Saar-Lapid government is dangerous to Israel.”

The Religious Zionist Party also rejected the meeting and stated that “for 10 years the right has succeeded in making Abu Mazen irrelevant and a persona non-grata in the world and removing from the agenda the discourse of dividing the country and establishing a terrorist state in the heart of Israel. Bennett and his left-wing government brought Oslo back to the table and Abu Mazen to the centre of the stage. Bennett, bad for the Jews.”

Matan Peleg, chairman of the Zionist Im Tirzu movement, demanded that Gantz “explain to the public the purpose of his meetings with the Holocaust denier, the corrupt man and the thief Abu Mazen.”

“Not only did the defence minister indirectly stop offsetting the terrorists’ salaries, but he also avoided demolishing terrorist homes and is allowing wild Palestinian construction in Area C while destroying Jewish settlements, he now hosts the snakehead that turned the murder of Jews into a Palestinian exit with the salaries he distributes to terrorists. What lowness,” he charged.

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