Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has carried out discussions with Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz during a notable visit to Israel. Mr. Abbas, whose government oversees autonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, strives for a dominant state that comprises all the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. In an announcement on Tuesday, the Israeli defense ministry asserted “the two men discussed security and civil matters”. Gantz said Abbas planned to “continue to promote actions to strengthen confidence in the economic and civilian fields, as agreed during their last meeting”.
Areas of Deliberation
On Wednesday, Israel’s defense ministry declared “confidence-building measures” with the PA. They comprised a $32m headway payment to the PA in taxes received on its behalf by Israel and the granting of 600 extra permissions authorizing Palestinian businessmen to travel into Israel. Gantz tweeted: “We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and emphasized the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence – for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Bowing to American pressure
Harry Fawcett, noting from West Jerusalem, told spectators to understand that US coercion “to see progress or at least some indication of willingness to talk by the Israelis with the Palestinians” is likely what prompted the meeting. Also, the “security situation in the occupied West Bank and inside East Jerusalem in recent weeks has deteriorated”, probably fiddling a part in facilitating the latest discussion, Fawcett added.