On Tuesday evening, a delegation of senior Palestinian officials led by President Mahmoud Abbas, 86, discussed security and economic issues at Mr. Gantz’s residence, located in Rosh Haayin, central Israel. indicated atAFP from Israeli sources.
Following the coming to power in June of the coalition government led by Naftali Bennett, Israeli ministers, including Benny Gantz, visited Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, in the occupied West Bank.
But this is the first time since 2010 that Abbas has visited Israel for an official meeting with a member of the Israeli government.
” We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and the importance of strengthening our security coordination. “
Mr. Gantz did not specify the location of this meeting.
On Wednesday morning, his ministry said it had approved
confidence measures as an advance payment to the Palestinian Authority of 100 million shekels (C $ 41.2 million) in taxes collected on its behalf by Israel, the granting of 600 additional permits allowing Palestinian businessmen to cross side Israeli, and the regularization of an additional 6,000 Palestinians living in an area of the West Bank under Israeli control.
For the first time since 2009, Israel had already announced, in October, the regularization of the status of 4,000 Palestinians living in
zone C, a vast area of the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control and where Israeli settlements are concentrated.
This measure, which prevents the eviction of these Palestinian families and is presented by Israel as being
humanitarian, had been criticized by Palestinian organizations believing that the
Zone C Palestinians by right and they therefore do not have to ask the Hebrew state to live there.
On the Palestinian side, the Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, welcomed the Abbas / Gantz meeting devoted to economic issues,
tensions linked to the activities of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and
the importance of creating a political horizon to achieve a
solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A meeting criticized by Hamas
But the Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, a territory separated from the West Bank and under Israeli blockade, condemned the meeting, believing it to be deviating from
the national spirit of the Palestinian people and therefore the reconciliation of the Palestinian leadership divided between the West Bank and Gaza.
” This behavior of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority aggravates the Palestinian political division, complicates the Palestinian situation, encourages some in the region who want to normalize with the occupier and weakens the Palestinian position which rejects normalization. [avec Israël]. “
In Israel, the Likud party (right) of opposition leader Benyamin Netanyahu, prime minister from 2009 to last June and virulent critic of the Palestinian president, also condemned the meeting which he said led to
concessions dangerous for Israel’s security.
The Abbas-Gantz meeting comes less than a week after the visit to Israel and the West Bank by US national security adviser Jake Sullivan who had discussed with Mahmoud Abbas about
the resumption of a significant level of economic and development assistance from the United States.
Current Israeli government says it wants to discuss ways
to improve the standard of living of Palestinians, without however seeking to embark on new peace negotiations, which have stalled since 2014.
In Washington, the administration of President Joe Biden, whose country is Israel’s first ally, has pledged to relaunch its relations with the Palestinians, which had broken off under Donald Trump, without however embarking on new Israeli-Palestinian talks. .