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PA President Abbas, Israel DM hold rare meeting

August 31, 2021 at 9:00 am

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.