Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz has announced a NIS500 million ($155m) loan for the Palestinian Authority, to be repaid from the tax revenues collected by the occupation state on behalf of the PA. The agreement was reached on the loan during rare high-level meetings between PA and Israeli officials held on Sunday and Monday.
According to the minister’s office, the first meeting was attended by Israel’s military liaison officer to the Palestinians, Ghassan Alian, PA intelligence chief Majid Faraj, and PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh. Only Gantz and PA President Mahmoud Abbas attended the second one.
“Gantz told [Abbas] that Israel is ready for a series of measures that would strengthen the PA economy,” explained the Israeli Defence Ministry. “The two also discussed shaping the security, civilian and economic reality in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
The meeting came one day after the return of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett from a meeting with US President Joe Biden in the White House. Reports said that Biden urged Bennett “to advance peace and security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”
A source close to Bennett said that the Prime Minister had approved the Gantz-Abbas meeting and deemed it a “routine” matter. “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and nor will there be one.”