Israeli Defense Minister Benny Kants held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on the West Bank, the first meeting to be formally announced on this scale for years.
The day after the Palestinian-Israeli meeting, a source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett said it was the first time since Naphtali Bennett had become prime minister that the first meeting in years had been officially announced: “There is no current peace. Act with the Palestinians. It will not happen.”
The source added that the talks in Ramallah, the seat of President Mahmoud Abbas on the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 1967, were devoted to discussing routine security issues and the economy.
Relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have deteriorated significantly in recent years. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ruled from 2009 to 2021, allowed the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and made little effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement that Defense Minister Benny Kantz, who heads a centrist party participating in the Israeli coalition government, had directed Abbas that “Israel seeks to take steps to strengthen the economy of the Palestinian Authority.” They also touched on “measures to improve the security and economic situation of Palestine.” West Bank and Gaza “and agreed to continue communications.
The meeting will include Kazan Alyan, a senior Palestinian Authority official who coordinates Israeli government operations in the Palestinian territories, and Palestinian intelligence chief Majeed Faraj. Al-Sheikh confirmed the meeting in a tweet on Twitter, without elaborating, explaining that “all aspects of Palestinian-Israeli relations were discussed.”
The talks took place just hours after Bennett returned from Washington, where he met with US President Joe Biden at the White House.
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