During a rare visit to Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
The Israeli defence ministry stated in a statement on Tuesday that “the two men addressed security and civic topics” during the meeting, which took place at Gantz’s residence in Rosh Ha’ayin, central Israel, according to Israeli media.
According to the statement, Gantz told Abbas that he planned to “continue to pursue steps to strengthen confidence in the economic and civilian spheres, as agreed during their last meeting.”
Gantz met with Abbas in the PA’s headquarters in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in late August. It was the first time in some years that such a high-level conference had taken place.
Following the negotiations, Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, stated that “there is no peace process going on with the Palestinians” and that “there will be no peace process going on with the Palestinians.”
Israel’s defence minister announced “confidence-building measures” with the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday. The PA received a $32 million advance payment in taxes collected on its behalf by Israel, as well as 600 additional licences permitting Palestinian businessmen to enter Israel.
Abbas‘ latest meeting with Gantz “dealt with the significance of developing a political vision that leads to a political settlement in accordance with international agreements,” Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein Al Sheikh tweeted earlier in the day. The most recent round of peace talks, mediated by the US, ended in failure in 2014.
According to Al Sheikh, the two also discussed “the tense conditions on the ground due to settlers’ behaviour, and the discussion dealt with several security, economic, and humanitarian issues.”
“We addressed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, as well as the importance of improving security coordination and preventing terror and violence — for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Gantz wrote on Twitter.
Ghasan Alyan, the head of the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories, attended the two-and-a-half-hour meeting, as did top PA official Hussein Al Sheikh and Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj.