Palestinian President meets Israeli Protection Minister | World information

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday, officials said.

It was the highest-level meeting between Abbas and an Israeli minister made public since the formation of the new Israeli government in June.

Gantz, who heads a centrist party, told Abbas that Israel would take steps to strengthen the Palestinian economy, according to a statement from his office.

“They also discussed the security and economic situation in the West Bank and Gaza,” the statement said. “They agreed to keep communicating the issues raised during the meeting.”

Hussein Al Sheikh, a member of Abbas’s Fatah Central Committee, said the discussion encompassed “all aspects” of Palestinian-Israeli relations.

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The peace talks between the two sides failed in 2014, despite the fact that Israel reached normalization agreements with a number of Arab countries with US support last year.

Israel’s new government includes a patchwork of parties from far left to far right, and for the first time includes a small Islamist faction.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of an ultra-nationalist party, rejects Palestinian statehood. But given the composition of his coalition, sensitive political decisions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be difficult.

The Ramallah meeting came just days after Bennett’s meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House, at which Biden reiterated his support for a two-state solution.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Ari Rabinovitch; editing by Daniel Wallis)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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