A day after his rare meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on August 30 that Israel will transfer $155 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Times of Israel reports that the deal will enable Israel to: circumvent a law of 2018 that requires the Israeli government to withhold a portion of the tax revenue it collects on behalf of the PA as punishment for the stipends Ramallah awards to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and their families. The paper reports that the newly announced money transfer will be financed using the roughly $186 million in tax revenue that Israel seized earlier this summer.
Gantz also told reporters that Israel’s… right of residence of thousands of Palestinians, most from the Gaza Strip or other countries, living in the West Bank without legal status.
The gestures of goodwill follow the defense minister’s meeting with Abbas on the evening of August 29 in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in what marked the first face-to-face talks in more than a decade between Israeli and Palestinian officials at high levels. level.
Gantz said he and the 85-year-old Palestinian leader discussed “security policy, civil and economic issues.”
“I told Chairman Abbas that Israel wants to take measures that strengthening the economy of the PAGantz said in a tweet.
“We also discussed shaping the security and economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza. We agreed to communicate further on the issues raised during the meeting,” he tweeted.
Senior PA official Hussein al-Sheikh said the evening talks involved “all aspectsof Palestinian-Israeli relations, although Israeli officials emphasized that there was no discussion of possible peace talks.
But Naftali Bennett, the far-right pro-settler prime minister who opposes the Palestinian state, said he excluded prospects for a peace deal with the Palestinians during his tenure.
A source close to Bennett told Haaretz: “There is… no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, and there won’t be.”
Also present at the meeting was Ghasan Alyan, who heads the Israeli defense body responsible for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories. On the Palestinian side, Sheikh and intelligence chief Majid Faraj took part.
In mid-July, Gantz spoke to Abbas on the phone in what was the highest known contact between Palestinians and Israelis since a 2017 phone call between former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas.
Their rare August 29 meeting came hours after Bennett left Washington after meeting US President Joe Biden two days earlier. At their meeting at the White House on Aug. 27, Biden underlined “the importance of taking steps to improve the lives of Palestinians and support more economic opportunities for them,” according to a US readout.
Militant groups in the Gaza Strip expressed outrage over the Abbas-Gantz talks. A Hamas spokesman called the talks “a stab in the back for the Palestinian people”.