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The meeting between Abbas and Gantz was shameful

September 6, 2021 at 10:22 am

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz (L) and Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority (R)

Why was anyone astonished when Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the “sacred” security collaboration Palestinian Authority, met with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz? After all, the bottom line is that Abbas’s loyalty lies with Israel, not the people of Palestine. Didn’t he announce proudly that he meets monthly with the head of the Israeli domestic security service, Shin Bet, and that his coordination with the agency is 99 per cent successful?

It is successful because the PA security services pursue the heroic resistance fighters, arrest them and lock them in their prisons. He informs the security services of the whereabouts of those who are wanted by the occupation authorities, so why would anyone be surprised when he incites the Israeli enemy against his fellow Palestinians, especially within the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in order to eliminate it? This was made clear by an Israeli official after the May offensive. It is, therefore, expected that Abbas and Gantz would meet to conspire against Hamas and the Palestinian people as a whole. There is no doubt that this is not the first time that they have met, nor will it be the last; it is just the first time that they have announced details of the shameful meeting, which must be added to Abbas’s track dismal record.

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He complained to the world that Benjamin Netanyahu refused to meet with him when he was prime minister. Netanyahu’s successor is even more right-wing and extremist, but Abbas has no problem meeting someone less senior than himself to confirm his loyalty to Israel, as well as his willingness to continue security coordination. Abbas understands that his life is linked to this shameful coordination and that, without it, he will fade into obscurity, not least because there are others waiting to step into his shoes and play this disgraceful role. The most likely of them is the agent for Israel who lives in and is backed by the UAE, Abbas’s rival, Mohammad Dahlan. That’s why Abbas wants to block his progress by making more concessions to the Israelis, even if at the expense of the Palestinians and their cause, which has been derailed over his 20 years in power.

As usual, after their meeting with Abbas, the Israelis issue statements that embarrass him and expose their betrayal. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett expressed his disapproval of what Gantz did. An official close to Bennett pointed out that, “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and neither will there be one.” According to the official, the security issues discussed with Gantz were routine, a claim which reduced the importance and purpose of the Abbas meeting.

The head of the security/political department in the Israeli Defence Ministry retired Major General Amos Gilad, also pointed out that the PA is part of the Israeli security system. Gilad described the cooperation between the PA and Israel as a strategic treasure given the services provided to the occupation state which help to prevent its economic collapse.

The Abbas-Gantz meeting was apparently supported by Yair Lapid, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the second pillar of the coalition government. He insisted that it certainly had government approval. Such contradictory positions reflect the distribution of roles, as Bennett represents the views of the extreme right, while Gantz and Lapid represent other parties in the coalition.

What was clear was that this meeting was held to send a message to Cairo during the meeting that Abbas attended with the Egyptian President and the King of Jordan, which Bennett was invited to attend but chose not to so as not to meet Abbas. The Israeli prime minister is committed to hatred of the Palestinians and does not recognise the PA, even as an authority attached to the Israeli security services and under their orders.

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Official Egyptian, Jordanian and Palestinian statements issued after the meeting in Cairo focused on three main topics: reviving the peace process and the two-state solution; the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital without which there will be no regional or global stability; and a ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israel in Gaza, as well as the reconstruction of the war-damaged enclave.

There was little difference between these and earlier recommendations made by almost every summit held on the Palestinian issue. They may well have been copied, cut and pasted, and are not worth the paper they are written on.

Bennett said as much on the eve of his meeting with US President John Biden when he told the New York Times that, “This government will neither annex nor form a Palestinian state.” This was said in the context of Israel’s rejection of any progress in the Palestinian file beyond the limits of enhancing Israeli security through coordination with the PA. Gantz reconfirmed days after his meeting with Abbas, specifically on the eve of the Egyptian-Jordanian-Palestinian summit. His meeting with the PA president was timely, said Gantz, and Abbas realises that there will be no political process at the current stage.

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What peace are they talking about, and what Palestinian state are they talking about? They have resorted to diversionary tactics again as if they are addicted to negotiations for negotiations’ sake despite knowing that the establishment of a Palestinian state will not come through negotiations, but through resistance and struggle against the Israeli occupation state, which must be obeyed and satisfied at the expense of the Palestinian cause.

Resistance is the solution, so the Oslo Accords and what stemmed from them must be dropped so that we can return to the struggle to liberate Palestine from Israel’s occupation which stretches from the river to the sea.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.