Middle East conflict: Gantz receives Abbas in his private home

As of: 12/29/2021 1:05 p.m.

For the first time in years, Palestinian President Abbas was received by a representative of the Israeli government. Defense Minister Gantz met him in his private home to discuss better cooperation.

By Benjamin Hammer, ARD-Studio Tel Aviv

There are no official photos from the appointment. There was no red carpet and no wind band: the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz took place in secret. But that’s no less remarkable. On the contrary. Gantz even invited Abbas to his private home in central Israel.

Benjamin Hammer
ARD-Studio Tel Aviv

Talks about economics and security

It was the first official appointment that Abbas had in Israel in ten years. And only the second high-profile meeting in a long time. The talks were about economics and security. After the meeting, the Israeli government announced that it would recognize the residency of 10,000 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel also wants to make a financial advance to the Abbas Palestinian Authority. It is about taxes that Israel levies on the Palestinians. The autonomy authority is under enormous pressure financially and also vis-à-vis its own population. Israel works with her and is dependent on this cooperation. That is why Israel wants to strengthen Abbas, also vis-à-vis the rival Hamas movement.

The meeting between Gantz and Abbas is believed to have been approved by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. He had announced that he wanted to reduce the points of friction in the conflict with the Palestinians. However, Bennett firmly rejects a separate, sovereign Palestinian state.

Criticism also from government partners

Some members of Israel’s new government criticized the meeting. Zeev Elkin, Minister of the National Liberal New Hope Party, spoke to radio station 103FM. He alluded to the fact that the Palestinian Authority pays pensions to Palestinian prisoners and their families. “I would not invite anyone into my house who pays salaries to murderers of Israelis and wants to bring high-ranking officers of the Israeli army to the prison of the International Criminal Court, including Gantz himself.”

Other members defended the meeting. A close confidante of the Palestinian president also protested against Palestinian criticism, such as Hamas. This meeting is the last chance to prevent an explosion in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, he said.

After Abbas and Gantz meet: Israel announces relief

Benjamin Hammer, ARD Tel Aviv, 29.12.2021 · 12:30 p.m.


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