Middle East Monitor / January 4, 2022
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz yesterday reiterated that he met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for security reasons, as well as to fight Hamas, local media reported.
“The need to maintain Israel’s security,” Gantz was reported by The Times of Israel saying, adding that he had also met with the Palestinian leader as part of efforts aimed at “countering Hamas terror group.”
“And this is the reason I will continue to meet with him [Abbas] and other elements in the region with whom discourse helps our stability, security and interests,” Gantz said.
He also said that he believed “that calm creates a healthy economy for them [Palestinians] with a horizon for a better future.”
Meanwhile, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he had given his “full approval” for the meeting between Gantz and Abbas at the former’s home in Rosh Ha’ayin.
“The defence minister spoke with me in advance and I didn’t see any reason to prohibit [the meeting], including the location,” Bennett told reporters during a press conference.
Bennett reiterated that Gantz and Abbas discussed security and economic matters, not political issues.
The prime minister reiterated his opposition to personally meeting with the PA president for any reason.