Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visits Israel’s Benny Gantz on rare trip

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Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas visited Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday during a rare trip to Israel for what the Gantz department has called security and civil affairs talks.

Gantz told Abbas he intended to “continue to promote actions aimed at building confidence in the economic and civilian areas, as agreed at their last meeting,” according to a statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry.

“The two discussed security and civil matters,” he added of the meeting, which Israeli media said took place at Gantz’s home in Rosh HaAyin, central Israel. .

At the end of August, Gantz visited the PA headquarters for talks with Abbas, the first official meeting at such a level in several years.

But after the talks, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said there was no ongoing peace process with the Palestinians, “and there won’t be.”

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted on Wednesday that “Abbas met with Benny Gantz, where the meeting focused on the importance of creating a political horizon that leads to a political solution in accordance with international resolutions.”

The two men also discussed “the tense conditions on the ground due to settler practices, and the meeting addressed many security, economic and humanitarian issues.”

The opposition Likud party condemned the latest meeting, saying “concessions dangerous to Israel’s security are only a matter of time.”

“The Israeli-Palestinian government has put Palestinians and Abbas back on the agenda … it’s dangerous for Israel,” the party added in a statement.

Relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, have deteriorated considerably in recent years.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu put the issue on the sidelines during his tenure as prime minister from 2009 to 2021, with peace talks suspended in 2014 as Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank grew.

Right winger Bennett, the former head of a settler lobbying council that opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, heads a coalition that seized power in June.

(AFP)

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