Visits to Ramallah by Israeli Ministers Spark More Invitations
Following the second visit by Israeli cabinet ministers to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday evening, Abbas issued a broad invitation for all members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government to do the same. Defense Minister Benny Gantz was the first, when he met the Palestinian leader in August, while two government ministers who are members of the far-left Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz and Esawi Frej, the health and regional cooperation ministers, respectively, declared their mission to be to keep the “two-state solution” alive. Apparently, Prime Minister Bennett failed to go on record as saying that he authorized the visit by his cabinet ministers or whether he is choosing to allow them free range to do so. For his part, Bennett, whose disdain for Palestinian statehood is well-known, has said unequivocally that he will not meet with Abbas. His interior minister, Ayelet Shaked, also made it clear in her rejection of Abbas’ invitation, declaring that she will not meet with a “Holocaust denier who is suing Israeli soldiers at the Hague and paying murderers of Jews.” Her references were to allegations of war crimes made on behalf of the Palestinians at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and the PA’s policy of providing stipends to families of those killed in the process of attacking Israelis.