Israeli Defence Minister “goodwill gestures" to Palestinian authority

JerusalemIsraeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that his country will make "goodwill gestures" to the Palestinian authority following his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel will also recognise the status of thousands of Palestinians who live in the Israel-occupied West Bank without Israeli permits.

Giving details to media coverage, Gantz said that during the meeting on Sunday night, he and Abbas agreed on a loan worth 500 million shekels ($155 million. Most of these Palestinians moved from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank after Hamas, the Islamic Palestinian group that runs the coastal enclave, seized power in 2007. Gantz said the purpose of the meeting was to build trust between Israel and the Palestinian authority without promoting a peace deal.

"I came to the meeting to build trust, keep the Israeli interests and the important ties with the Palestinian authority," Gantz said, adding that he believes Israel should support the Palestinian authority. "The stronger the Palestinian authority is, the weaker Hamas will be, and the more governance it will have," the Defence Minister added. The meeting was the first between an Israeli minister and the Palestinian President since 2010.

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