(December 29, 2021 / JNS) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas agreed on a series of confidence-building measures during their meeting at Gantz’s home on Tuesday evening.
According to a statement from Gantz’s office, the measures include “status approvals on a humanitarian basis for 6000 [Palestinian] residents of Judea and Samaria, and an additional status approval for 3500 Gaza residents.”
They also include “advancing the transfer of tax payments” worth NIS 100 million ($32 million).
Additional measures include the approval of issuing business approvals for Palestinian businesspeople, 500 additional permits for Palestinian businesspeople to enter Israel with their vehicles, and the issuing of dozens of VIP permits for senior officials from the Palestinian Authority.
It was the first meeting inside of Israel for Abbas in over a decade, and the second time the two leaders met since the new Israeli government took office in June.
In the hours that followed the meeting, right-wing members of Israel’s coalition government criticized the meeting.
Housing and Construction Minister Ze’ev Elkin said that Gantz hadn’t been given authority from the government to conduct political negotiations, “and he knows it,” Channel 12 reported.
Furthermore, Gantz’s decision to host Abbas while the latter still supports terrorists demonstrates the defense minister’s “poor taste,” said Elkin.
“It would have been better if he had found another guest,” he said.
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel noted that Abbas still denies the Holocaust, and accused the Palestinian leader of playing “a very strange and double game.”
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