Meeting Between Israel’s Gantz and PA’s Abbas Upsets Both Sides
A meeting between Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has left both Israel and the Palestinians distressed and confused. The Jerusalem Post reported that the two discussed Palestinian-Israeli relations in all aspects. In a tweet, Gantz specified that their discussions included “security-policy, civilian and economic issues” and “shaping the security and economic situations in the West Bank and in Gaza.”
In a series of goodwill measures to strengthen the PA economy, Gantz offered Abbas a $155 million loan taken from tax funds Israel has withheld due to the PA’s pay-for-slay policy (monetary stipends paid to Palestinian terrorists). They also pursued methods to allow 16,000 additional Palestinians to work in Israel, and they sought ways to provide documentation for West Bank Palestinians. Many of Gantz’s coalition partners criticized his meeting and actions, citing Abbas’s denial of the Holocaust and generous payments to terrorists against Israel as reasons to not even engage with him, The Times of Israel said.
PA officials were outraged by the meetings. They considered Abbas’s decision to meet with Gantz, the “Zionist minister of war,” a “stab in the back” and a “betrayal of the blood of the martyrs.” Though no benefits for Israel resulting from the meeting have been reported, PA officials found no justification for meeting with their enemy.
I can understand why Israel is upset. They have to prepare for the possibility that hundreds of millions of dollars will fall into the hands of those who attack and kill them without cause. Though Prime Minister Naftali Bennett approved the meeting and though Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar stated unequivocally that “a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria will not be established under any circumstances,” Israel appears to have nothing to gain and much to lose through this meeting. It’s laughable but expected that the PA is as upset by this meeting as they are. Their people stand to gain employment and the government will receive an infusion of funding, yet simply meeting with Gantz is tantamount to treason. We can only hope this reduces the threat Israel faces from the Palestinian Authority as a result of this meeting. At the moment, it looks like a pipe dream.