Keywords

  • The PA received a $32 million advance payment in taxes collected on its behalf by Israel, as well as 600 additional licences permitting Palestinian businessmen to enter Israel.
  • “Bennett continues to oppose the US reopening its Palestinian-focused consulate in Jerusalem.”
  • It desires independence for the whole West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem and the embattled Gaza Strip.

 

“The two men addressed security and civic topics”

During a rare visit to Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. The Israeli defence ministry stated in a statement on Tuesday that “the two men addressed security and civic topics” during the meeting, which took place at Gantz’s residence in Rosh Ha’ayin, central Israel, according to Israeli media. According to the statement, Gantz told Abbas that he planned to “continue to pursue steps to strengthen confidence in the economic and civilian spheres, as agreed during their last meeting.”

(Al Jazeera, 2021)

Gantz met with Abbas at the PA’s headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in late August. It was the first time in some years that such a high-level conference had taken place. Following the negotiations, Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, stated that “there is no peace process going on with the Palestinians” and that “there will be no peace process going on with the Palestinians.” Israel’s defence minister announced “confidence-building measures” with the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. The PA received a $32 million advance payment in taxes collected on its behalf by Israel, as well as 600 additional licences permitting Palestinian businessmen to enter Israel.

Abbas’ latest meeting with Gantz “dealt with the significance of developing a political vision that leads to a political settlement in accordance with international agreements,” Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al Sheikh tweeted earlier in the day. The most recent round of peace talks, mediated by the US, ended in failure in 2014. According to Al Sheikh, the two also discussed “the tense conditions on the ground due to settlers’ behaviour, and the discussion dealt with several security, economic, and humanitarian issues.” “We addressed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, as well as the importance of improving security coordination and preventing terror and violence—for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Gantz wrote on Twitter. Ghasan Alyan, the head of the Israeli military branch in charge of civil affairs in the Palestinian territories, as well as top PA official Hussein Al Sheikh and Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj, attended the two-and-a-half-hour meeting.

(Al Jazeera, 2021)

 

“Pressure from the United States”

According to Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, analysts believe the meeting was motivated by US pressure “to see progress or at least some evidence of willingness to negotiate by the Israelis with the Palestinians.” “Bennett continues to oppose the US reopening its Palestinian-focused consulate in Jerusalem,” Fawcett said, referring to Washington’s declaration in May that it would reestablish connections with Palestinians, which had been degraded by former President Donald Trump’s administration. In addition, the “security situation in the occupied West Bank and inside East Jerusalem has deteriorated in recent weeks,” likely prompting the latest meeting, according to Fawcett.

Meanwhile, Hamas, which governs the beleaguered Gaza Strip, has slammed Gantz and Abbas’ meeting, saying it violates the “national spirit of the Palestinian people.” The PA’s leadership’s behaviour, according to spokesman Hazem Qassem, will “deepen the Palestinian political divide and exacerbate the Palestinian situation.” The conference was also criticised by Israel’s opposition party, Likud, which said that “concessions hazardous to Israel’s security were simply a matter of time.” The Palestinians and Abbas have been reintroduced to the Israeli-Palestinian government’s agenda… In a statement, the party continued, “It is perilous for Israel.” Over the years, relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have deteriorated significantly. During his time as Prime Minister, from 2009 to 2021, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the issue, which coincided with the failure of peace efforts. Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, he oversaw the gradual construction of illegal Jewish colonies. International law considers settlements and outposts to be illegal.

(Al Jazeera, 2021)

Bennett, his successor, is a staunch nationalist who opposes Palestinian independence and formerly served as the head of a major settlement lobbying group. Despite his claims that he wants to improve relations with the Palestinian Authority, Israelis have increased their aggression against Palestinian people in the West Bank. In the regions it administers across the occupied West Bank, Abbas’ Ramallah-based government has little autonomy. It desires independence for the whole West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem and the embattled Gaza Strip.

Israel took control of all three areas in 1967 and continues to do so. The Palestinian Authority has also been under fire from around the world for cracking down on key rights and activists. With his government commonly perceived as corrupt and oppressive, Abbas’s popularity has plunged, according to a June poll. Abbas took office in 2005, presumably for a four-year term. Many Palestinians have also criticised the PA’s strong security coordination with Israel, which they regard as a major betrayal.

 

Bibliography

Palestinian Authority’s Abbas Visits Israel’s Gantz In Rare Trip | Israel-Palestine Conflict News | Al Jazeera. (202129, December 29). Palestinian Authority’s Abbas visits Israel’s Gantz in rare trip | Israel-Palestine conflict News | Al Jazeera.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/29/palestinian-authoritys-abbas-visits-israels-gantz-in-rare-trip.

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