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Gantz meets Abbas in Ramallah after Bennett’s US visit

CM 29/08/2021

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In rare move, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah just hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned from Washington DC.
“This evening I met with PA [President] Mahmoud Abbas to discuss security-policy, civilian and economic issues,” Gantz tweeted after the late night meeting, the details of which were published just after midnight on Monday.

It’s the first time in a decade that such a high level face-to-face public conversation on policy has taken place between Abbas and an Israeli official.
“We also discussed shaping the security and economic situations in the West Bank and in Gaza,” Gantz said. “We agreed to continue communicating further on the issues that were raised during the meeting,” he added.
Bennett has insisted that he has no plans to hold talks with Abbas and the two men did not exchange customary words when Bennett took office. Bennett has also explained that he does not intend to engage in a peace process.
Gantz, in contrast, has expressed an interest in conversing with Abbas. He telephoned him in July to convey his good wishes for the Eid-al-Adha holiday.
According to the Israeli media, Bennett who had initially opposed such a meeting, had given the move a green light.
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority broke down in 2014 and have not been renewed. Those round of talks brokers by former US Secretary of State John Kerry did not include an Abbas meeting. The Palestinian leader met with Netanyahu only twice, once in Washington in 2010 and once on the sidelines of the General Assembly in 2009. They did occasionally speak by phone, with the last such conversation taking place in 2017.
Abbas has spoken by telephone with President Isaac Herzog and his predecessor Reuven Rivlin. The Palestinian leader also came to Jerusalem for the funeral of former president Shimon Peres and informally spoken with both Rivlin and Netanyahu.
PA PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah last August. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)PA PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah last August. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Peres himself also met Abbas at the Vatican in 2014, for a peace vigil with Pope Francis. 
Sunday night’s Gantz-Abbas meeting in Ramallah was also attended by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Ghasan Alyan as well as Palestinian Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, and Head of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, Majid Faraj.
It came as the PA is in deep financial crisis and Palestinians in Gaza have renewed border violence.
It is seen as part of a series of steps to strengthen Abbas and is not a signal of renewed peace talks.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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