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PA President Abbas, Israel DM hold rare meeting

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting with the Palestinian leadership at the presidential compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah on October 6, 2019. - Abbas said he would discuss plans for new parliamentary elections with all factions, including longterm rivals Hamas, and renewed a pledge to hold the first elections since 2006, but without giving a timeframe. (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI / AFP) (Photo by ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on 6 October 2019 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met yesterday with Israel's Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, in occupied Ramallah, in the first high-level meeting between the two sides in years.

"Defence Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas [Sunday] evening to discuss security policy, civilian and economic issues," the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It added that Gantz informed Abbas "that Israel seeks to take measures that will strengthen the PA's economy. They also discussed shaping the security and economic situations in the West Bank and in Gaza."

The statement said, "they agreed to continue communicating further."

READ: Bennett prevents Gantz from meeting with Abbas

Meanwhile, Gal Berger, correspondent of the Israeli Kan TV channel revealed that Abbas submitted three requests during his meeting with Gantz including for the bodies of Palestinian martyrs to be returned. The defence minister said he would look into the request.

Abbas also asked Gantz to prevent the Israeli army from entering Palestinian cities in Area A and to curb settler violence in the West Bank.

Berger quoted Palestinian sources familiar with the meeting as saying that the Palestinian president was relatively satisfied with the meeting.

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