Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz hosted Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas at his house in Rosh HaAyin. This is the second time Abbas has met with Gantz for reportedly talking about peace and security in the region. Previously, Palestinian President met with Benny Gantz for the first time in August when he hosted Gantz in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. However, after the talks, Israel’s Prime Minister Neftali Bennet stated that there was no peace process between Israelites and Palestinians, and there won’t be any.
According to reports, the leaders of both sides have been trying to strengthen economic and security ties between Palestinians and Israelites with peace talks. However, the talk sessions have collapsed since 2014, so the recent meeting between Abbas and Gantz raised questions about whether they had started again or was there something else going on.
Talks Between Palestinian President and Israeli Defense Minister
Palestinian president visiting Gantz is considered a huge move because it was the first such trip for Abbas in a decade. PA’s representative Hussein al-Sheikh claimed that the meeting was “productive and positive”. He added that the two talked about the importance of creating a political horizon to find a political solution to the decades-old conflict between Israel and Palestine.
Gantz also posted on Twitter that they have discussed implementing “economic and civilian measures, and deepening security coordination to prevent terror and violence” for the betterment of both sides.
According to reports, both also discussed the current situation in the country due to the behaviour of Israeli settlers.
Opposition Party Condemns the Meeting
Ex-PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s party Likud condemned the latest meeting, saying it was a threat to Israel’s security. It added that putting Palestinian President and people back on the agenda was dangerous for Israel. In recent years, the relations between PA and Israel have deteriorated significantly.
Likud leader shelved this matter during his tenure as a PM from 2009 to 2021. As the peace talks collapsed, the illegal settlements expanded in the occupied West Bank while Palestinian land shrank. Neftali Bennett, who replaced Netanyahu as PM in June, was also a former leader of an illegal settler lobbying council and opposed the idea of allowing Palestinians their rightful state.
So, it is unclear what Abbas and Gantz will achieve through this meeting when Israeli leaders who hold power do not want peace.
Behind the Scenes
The meeting came amid the rising violence in West Bank this month. According to reports, several incidents have been taking place that includes illegal settlers attacking Palestinians with different weapons. There are reportedly around 500,000 Jewish settlers living as communities in the occupied West Bank. International law has regarded this occupation as illegal and also found how Palestinians were forcefully evicted to make space for settlers backed by American-Israeli conglomerates.
Palestinian President and the entire PA has also been accused of supporting the Israeli agenda. Many believe that the reason why Palestinians don’t have a state today is because of their corrupt leadership. The concept is explained in a cartoon made by Pro Hamas media about the recent meeting. It depicted Abbas washing the feet of Israel’s Defense Minister while Hussain-al-Sheikh was misguiding the media that the meeting was “productive and positive”.