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Bennett prevents Gantz from meeting with Abbas

srael's Defence Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speak to each other at a Knesset (parliament) meeting during which Isaac Herzog, a veteran of Israel's left-wing Labor party, was sworn in as the Jewish state's 11th president, replacing Reuvin Rivlin, in Jerusalem, on 7 July 2020. [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]
Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speak to each other at a Knesset (parliament) meeting during which Isaac Herzog, a veteran of Israel's left-wing Labor party, was sworn in as the Jewish state's 11th president, replacing Reuvin Rivlin, in Jerusalem, on 7 July 2020. [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has prevented his Defence Minister Benny Gantz from meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli TV Channel 12 reported on Friday.

According to the TV channel, Gantz requested permission from Bennett to meet with Abbas, but Bennett rejected his request.

Gantz argued that he was the most appropriate and senior Israeli official to meet with Abbas in light of Bennett's right-wing electoral base, the Israeli TV channel reported.

The TV channel also reported Gantz claiming that if Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid were to meet with Abbas, there would be significant political implications that they currently would not want to face.

Meanwhile, Gantz believes that his meeting with Abbas could advance and strengthen ties between Israel and the PA, reinforcing security cooperation.

Last month, Gantz, among other senior Israeli officials, spoke with Abbas via telephone.

It is worth noting that the US has been working with Israel to strengthen the PA amidst increasing popular calls for it to step down following the murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat and numerous corruption claims being exposed related to its senior officials.

READ: Israel PM reduces new settlement units fearing US

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