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PA president asks Israel to strengthen him politically in return for halting ICC probe

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Sochi, Russia on 23 November 2021 [MIA Rossiya Segodnya/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Sochi, Russia on 23 November 2021 [MIA Rossiya Segodnya/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz to strengthen him "politically" in return for ending Palestinian efforts to have Israel tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) reported on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Abbas made a rare visit to Israel where he met with Gantz at his home in the central town of Rosh HaAyin amid Palestinian rejection, Palestinian and Israeli sources reported.

Kan quoted Israeli political sources who had attended the meeting as saying that Abbas does not expect a political breakthrough regarding the peace process during the term of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

According to the sources, Abbas said that Israel should not only focus on strengthening actions in the civilian and economic field, but should take steps of a political nature that are visible on the ground "in order to strengthen his position and help him face popular criticism of him in Palestine."

Abbas explained that two important meetings of the Palestine Liberation Organization and al-Fatah movement are expected to take place within the next three months, and that it is important for him to attend them while his position is strengthened.

Meanwhile, The Times of Israel newspaper reported that Gantz announced, following his meeting with Abbas, that Tel Aviv would implement a series of measures intended to strengthen the indebted Palestinian Authority and ease Palestinians' daily life.

According to the paper, Israel will provide the PA with a NIS 100 million loan ($32.2 million) on tax revenues which Israel collects on the PA's behalf, in an attempt to reduce the PA's spiralling deficit.

Moreover, Gantz said Israel will also legalise the status of 9,500 undocumented Palestinians and foreigners living in the West Bank and Gaza.

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