Middle East Monitor / August 14, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has prevented his Defence Minister Benny Gantz from meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli TV Channel 12 reported on Friday.
According to the TV channel, Gantz requested permission from Bennett to meet with Abbas, but Bennett rejected his request.
Gantz argued that he was the most appropriate and senior Israeli official to meet with Abbas in light of Bennett’s right-wing electoral base, the Israeli TV channel reported.
The TV channel also reported Gantz claiming that if Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid were to meet with Abbas, there would be significant political implications that they currently would not want to face.
Meanwhile, Gantz believes that his meeting with Abbas could advance and strengthen ties between Israel and the PA, reinforcing security cooperation.
Last month, Gantz, among other senior Israeli officials, spoke with Abbas via telephone.
It is worth noting that the US has been working with Israel to strengthen the PA amidst increasing popular calls for it to step down following the murder of Palestinian activist Nizar Banat and numerous corruption claims being exposed related to its senior officials.