Every Israeli government is interested in reducing tensions with the Palestinians - Expert - ednews.net

21 May, Saturday

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Every Israeli government is interested in reducing tensions with the Palestinians - Expert

I am afraid that until there is a solution for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Iran, no peace deal can hold with the PA

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defence minister Benny Gantz held the meeting on Tuesday.

According to various media sources, Mahmoud Abbas visited Benny Gantz at his home in the central city of Rosh Ha'ayin.

The office said the meeting focused on various issues including security and civil matters and lasted for two and a half hours.

Gantz posted in his twitter that he and Palestinian President touched upon the economic, civilian and security issues occurring in the region.

“This evening, I met with PA President, Mahmoud Abbas. We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures and emphasized the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing violence and terror – for the well-being of Israelis and Palestinians”, Gantz said.

Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh confirmed the meeting on his Twitter page, saying the two men discussed security and economic and humanitarian issues as well as the tensions in the West Bank.

Eurasia Diary presents an interview with Rachel Avraham, the well-know Israeli journalist.

No description available.

Rachel Avraham is editor of Economic Peace Center. She is author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American; Israeli and Arab Media."

- First, please tell us, what are main reasons of this meeting?

- The whole purpose of the meeting was to give Defence Minister Gantz the opportunity to announce confidence-building measures to help improve Israel's relationship with the Palestinians. These measures include possibly lowering the handling fees for fuel purchases, examining the possibility of shipping containers through Allenby Bridge, and approving the status of 6,000 West Bank Palestinians and 3,500 Gazan Palestinians, as well as the approval of the tax payment transfer of 100 million NIS, which was previously withheld due to the PA's pay to slay program, which paid a salary to imprisoned terrorists and their families. Under the Oslo Accords, Israel collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinians and is supposed to transfer them to the PA, yet Israel had withheld some of those payments due to the PA should pay to slay program. In July, nearly NIS 600 million ($184 m.) was withheld after the Palestinian Authority paid NIS 597 million ($183 m.) in “indirect support for terror in 2020.”Ganz also approved 600 business cards for Palestinian businessmen and 500 permits for Palestinian businessmen to enter Israel via land crossings. Additionally, Gantz and Abbas discussed security, economic and humanitarian issues.

- Do you think that the new government of Israel may be interested in the future peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and the reduction of the tension with the Palestinians in the region?

- I think that every Israeli government is interested in reducing tensions with the Palestinians. However, there is a difference between the right and the left on whether to pursue peace negotiations with the PA. The right wing feels that so long as the PA got a pay to slay program, so long as PA TV and PA schools incite terrorism, and the PA condemns Abu Dhabbi for playing soccer with Israel, we don't have a peace partner and therefore, there is nothing to discuss. The left wing however believes that even though this is the case, we should still pursue talks anyways and hope that the negotiations will resolve these issues. This government however is a national unity government, with both right wing and left wing parties. While Gantz met with Abu Mazen and was praised by Meretz for doing so, Bennett himself was not really enthusiastic about the meeting and just sat back for he felt he had no way of stopping it. Thus, with such a government, it is impossible to claim that there is a united front on this issue. Of course, the Likud strongly condemned the meeting due to the fact that the PA has yet to stop inciting terror and supporting terror and the Likud feels that appeasement for terror only creates more terror. Of course, if the PA to slay program came to an end and the PA reformed its school curriculum and TV broadcasts to educate more for peace, I do believe that Israeli opposition towards sitting down and talking to them will die down.

- Do you see opportunities that Israel and Palestine could come to common understanding on ensuring security in the region?

Even if Israel was able to reach a common understanding with Abu Mazen, there is a very high risk that Iran and its proxies, namely Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, would do everything to sabotage those understandings. As we speak, there is a war on the Palestinian streets between Hamas and Abu Mazen. Right now, Abu Mazen is very unpopular and there is a real chance that Hamas can topple him. In the eyes of many Palestinians, he is not a legitimate leader that he cancelled the elections earlier this year. Just today, an Israeli citizen was injured along the Gaza border. Not too long ago, an Al Aqsa Guard attacked an Israeli policeman for saying good morning. In 2021, there was a large increase in terror attacks in the West Bank and don't forget that Operation Guardian of the Walls was earlier this year. Therefore, I am afraid that until there is a solution for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and Iran, no peace deal can hold with the PA. For this reason, it is better for Israel to invest in making peace with countries that don't have this issue. The peace deals with the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, etc. were major successes. It is better for Israel to invest in making peace with more countries in the Persian Gulf and across the Arab world, who will like to advance relations with us and for whom Iran and its proxies won't be an obstacle.

Yunis Abdullayev


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