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Palestinian president, Israeli defence minister maintain uncommon talks amid violent clashes alongside Gaza border

Defence Minister Benny Gantz met Abbas in Ramallah late Sunday for what have been reportedly the primary direct talks between an Israeli cupboard member and the 86-year-old Palestinian chief in a number of years

Israel’s defence minister has met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for a uncommon high-level assembly, however a supply near Prime Minister Naftali Bennett insisted his authorities had no plans to reboot peace talks.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz met Abbas in Ramallah late Sunday for what have been reportedly the primary direct talks between an Israeli cupboard member and the 86-year-old Palestinian chief in a number of years.

The assembly, which Gantz’s workplace stated centered on “security policy, civilian and economic issues”, got here simply hours after Bennett returned from Washington the place he met US President Joe Biden.

Biden had stated he would urge Bennett to seek out methods “to advance peace and security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians”.

According to a defence ministry assertion, Gantz instructed Abbas that Israel “seeks to take measures that will strengthen the PA’s economy”.

“They also discussed shaping the security and economic situations in the West Bank and in Gaza,” and agreed to “continue communicating further”, it added.

A spokeswoman for Gantz confirmed experiences within the native media, in line with which the defence minister instructed Abbas that Israel would offer a half-billion shekel ($155 million, 132 million euros) mortgage to the Palestinian Authority.

The mortgage can be repaid within the type of deducting tax collections Israel usually fingers the Palestinians.

A supply near Bennett stated the assembly that he had authorized centered on “issues between the defence establishment and the Palestinian Authority”.

“There is no peace process with the Palestinians nor will there be” underneath Bennett’s management, stated the supply who requested anonymity.

The Gantz-Abbas assembly additionally included the top of the Israeli navy department chargeable for civil affairs within the Palestinian territories, Ghasan Alyan, senior PA official Hussein Al Sheikh and Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj.

Gantz’s workplace stated he and Abbas had held “a one-on-one meeting” after the broader talks.

Al Sheikh confirmed the assembly on Twitter, however the PA was not instantly obtainable to touch upon its substance.

Hamas vs Abbas

Bennett, 49, took workplace in June as head of an eclectic coalition during which his hawkish get together holds solely a handful of seats.

He is a long-standing opponent of Palestinian statehood and the previous head of a council that lobbies for Jewish settlers within the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

Jewish settlements within the West Bank are thought of unlawful underneath worldwide regulation.

But regardless of Bennett’s private views, his authorities has sought to heat ties with the PA after relations successfully collapsed underneath former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was in energy from 2009 till June this 12 months.

Netanyahu, additionally a pro-settlement right-winger lengthy reviled by Palestinians, additional alienated Abbas by way of his tight embrace of former US president Donald Trump, who was accused of maximum pro-Israel bias.

Palestinian division

Bennett’s authorities has indicated a want to spice up the PA amid concern over a recent battle with Hamas Islamists who management Israeli-blockaded Gaza and are rivals of Abbas’s secular Fatah motion.

An 11-day battle in May between Israel and Palestinian militants within the Gaza Strip marked the worst hostilities within the space since 2014, and unrest has continued regardless of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire.

An Israeli Border Police soldier shot throughout border clashes with Gaza 9 days in the past has died of his wounds, police stated on Monday.

Police stated Barel Hadaria Shmueli was critically wounded by a gunshot in the course of the 21 August conflict on the sidelines of an indication close to the border fence separating the Hamas-run enclave and the Jewish state.

Hamas on Monday condemned the Abbas-Gantz assembly, charging that it “deepens Palestinian political division”.

Abbas has tightened his maintain over the PA since his election in 2006. He cancelled elections set for May and July that may have been the primary Palestinian polls in 15 years.

The veteran chief cited Israel’s refusal to permit voting in annexed east Jerusalem, which Palestinians see as their future capital.

But some Palestinian specialists stated Abbas balked when it appeared clear that Hamas was poised to rout Fatah on the polls.

Abbas’s PA has additionally come underneath mounting world criticism over an alleged crackdown on inner opposition following the demise in Palestinian custody of a outstanding activist.

Fourteen members of the Palestinian safety forces will face a navy trial after being formally accused Monday over the killing of outstanding activist Nizar Banat, whose demise sparked protests and world condemnation.

Banat — a number one critic of the Palestinian Authority and its 86-year previous president Mahmud Abbas — died in June after safety forces stormed his residence within the flashpoint metropolis of Hebron and dragged him away.

A autopsy discovered he had been overwhelmed on the top, chest, neck, legs and fingers, with lower than an hour elapsing between his arrest and his demise.

Banat’s household has stated it has no confidence within the PA’s capability to ship justice, and referred to as for a world probe.

But the PA, notably prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, has promised accountability, and ordered a full investigation.

Palestinian safety service spokesman Talal Dweikat stated Monday that 14 of the service’s personnel have been formally accused of “beatings causing death, abuse of power and violations of security instructions.”

Under the Palestinian justice system within the West Bank — a territory occupied by Israel since 1967 — a Palestinian navy court docket will conduct the trial.

The United Nations and European Union final week expressed alarm over a spate of arrests focusing on main critics of Abbas and the PA.

Israel strikes Gaza 

The Israeli air pressure attacked two websites in Gaza on Sunday, the military stated, after Gazans clashed with forces on the border and launched incendiary balloons into southern Israel.

The newest escalation got here as Israel and Egypt continued to chill out restrictions on commerce and journey imposed on the Gaza Strip, largely lower off by each nations because the Islamist motion Hamas seized the Palestinian enclave in 2007.

Israeli “fighter jets struck a Hamas military compound used for manufacturing weapons and training as well as an entrance to a terror tunnel adjacent to Jabalia,” the Israeli military stated.

“The strikes were in response to Hamas launching incendiary balloons into Israeli territory and the violent riots that took place yesterday,” it stated in a press release.

The military stated each incidents have been “examples of how Hamas continues to employ terror tactics and target civilians.”

There have been no experiences from the Gaza Strip of any casualties attributable to the Israeli strikes.

Speaking in Washington, the place he had met with Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated he held Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas chargeable for any unrest from the Palestinian enclave.

“As I have already said, our actions in Gaza will serve our interests,” he instructed reporters earlier than boarding a aircraft again to Israel.

“As far as I’m concerned, the address (of those responsible) has been and remains Hamas.”

Rafah crossing totally reopens

On Saturday night, two wildfires broke out within the Eshkol area close to the Palestinian enclave, Israeli firefighters stated.

Protests erupted later within the day, with the Israeli military firing tear gasoline and stun grenades as Palestinians burned tyres on the border between Gaza and Israel, an AFP reporter stated.

The well being ministry in Gaza stated 11 Palestinians had been harm within the clashes, three of them by reside hearth.

Hours earlier, Gazans laid to relaxation Omar Hassan Abu al-Nile, 12, who died of his wounds per week after being shot by Israeli forces throughout border clashes.

In 2018, Gazans started a protest motion demanding an finish to Israel’s blockade and the suitable for Palestinians to return to lands they fled or have been expelled from when the Jewish state was based in 1948.

The often-violent weekly demonstrations backed by Hamas sputtered as Israel killed some 350 Palestinians within the territory over greater than a 12 months.

Hamas and Israel then fought a devastating 11-day battle in May, the worst between the 2 sides in years, which ended with an off-the-cuff truce.

Incendiary balloons from Gaza have continued within the following months, with Israel blaming Hamas.

Israel has on the similar time been easing restrictions on civilian life and commerce for the territory it has blockaded since 2007, when Hamas took energy.

On Sunday, Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip to permit Palestinians to exit, after having partially reopened on Thursday for journey into Gaza.

Rafah, Gaza’s solely gateway to the surface world not managed by Israel, was shuttered on Monday by Egypt.

Egypt gave no motive for the transfer, however Palestinian sources in Gaza stated it was over the rise in border violence with Israel.

With inputs from AFP

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