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Bennett Says He Approved Gantz, Abbas Meeting in Israel

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave his full approval to a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The meeting took place last week at Gantz’s home in central Israel. Bennett told reporters during a news conference on Sunday night that Gantz told him in advance about the meeting and that he approved both the meeting and the venue. He noted that Abbas and Gantz did not discuss political issues during the meeting.

Gantz and Abbas discussed plans to advance economic and security cooperation between the sides, and hours after the meeting Gantz announced “confidence-building measures,” including the transfer of NIS 100 million ($32 million) in tax revenues that Israel collects from Palestinian workers in Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

Bennett said he will not meet with Abbas, however. Following a meeting between Gantz and Abbas in Ramallah in September, Bennett told Ynet that: “My perception is different than that of the defense minister, although we work in harmony. I oppose a Palestinian state and I think it would be a grave mistake to import the failed Gaza model of Hamas which shoots rockets at us, and turn the entire West Bank to that. I see no logic in meeting Abbas when he’s suing our soldiers in the Hague and accuses our commanders of war crimes. In my opinion, the Palestinian Authority is a failed entity.”