Israel’s defense minister approved a raft of measures aimed at improving relations with the Palestinians on Wednesday following a rare meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Israel.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas at his private residence in a Tel Aviv suburb late Tuesday night. It was the first time Abbas met an Israeli official inside Israel since 2010. The two discussed security coordination between Israel and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.
Today, Wednesday, the Hebrew channel Kan revealed new details of Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz at his home near Tel Aviv.
Weapons will not be used against the Israelis
The channel said that President Abbas told Defense Minister Gantz in their meeting yesterday, “He will not allow violence, terrorism and the use of firearms against Israelis as long as he is in power and regardless of the nature of Palestinian-Israeli relations, and Abbas added that the Palestinian Authority’s security services will continue to work on this issue.”
According to the channel, “Gantz thanked Abbas for the activity of the Palestinian security forces in saving the two Israeli men in Ramallah, from an assassination attempt that occurred earlier this month.
Palestinian Authority stated that President Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday evening, Tuesday, with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to discuss the possibility of reaching a political solution, while Israel said that it seeks to strengthen confidence-building measures and security coordination.
Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said that Abbas and Gantz discussed “the importance of creating a political horizon that leads to a political solution, in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions.”
He added – in a tweet on Twitter – that the two sides also discussed “the tense field conditions, due to the settlers’ practices and attacks, as well as many security, economic and humanitarian issues.”
This evening, President Mahmoud Abbas met with Minister Benny Gantz, where 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 tense field conditions due to the practices of settlers, and the meeting dealt with many security, economic and humanitarian issues.
— Hussein Al Sheikh (@HusseinSheikhpl) December 28, 2021
According to a statement issued by Gantz’s office, the meeting lasted two hours and discussed various security, civil and economic issues, and “maintaining security stability and preventing terrorism and violence.”
Gantz told Abbas that he intends to continue to strengthen confidence-building measures and work to strengthen security coordination, according to the statement.
Well-informed Israeli sources confirmed that the meeting took place at Gantz’s home in the Rosh Ha’ayin area.
This meeting comes about 4 months after the two men met in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, at which time the meeting discussed “routine” security issues.
condemnation from both sides
For its part, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) denounced the meeting, and its spokesman Hazem Qassem said that it was “rejected and deviated from the national spirit of our Palestinian people.”
Qassem considered that the coincidence of the meeting with the settlers’ attack on civilians in the West Bank constitutes a stab at the intifada in the West Bank, as he described it.
He added that “the behavior of the PA leadership deepens the internal division, encourages some parties in the region that want to be normalized with the occupation, and weakens the Palestinian position that rejects normalization.”
The right-wing Likud party also condemned the Abbas-Gantz meeting, and said – in a statement – that “dangerous concessions to Israel’s security are only a matter of time.”
The party added that “the Israeli-Palestinian government of Bennett is bringing Abu Mazen and the Palestinians back on the agenda,” considering that this government “poses a danger to Israel.”