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US ‘Very Pleased’ With Meeting in Israel Between Gantz, Abbas

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting of the new government at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem May 24, 2020. Photo: Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS

i24 News – The United States welcomed news of the meeting in Israel on Tuesday between the Jewish state’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the US was “very pleased” to hear of the diplomatic encounter.

“The US is very pleased Defense Minister Benny Gantz hosted PA President Abbas at his home in Israel. We hope confidence-building measures discussed will accelerate momentum to further advance freedom, security, and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike in 2022,” Price posted to Twitter on Wednesday.

The meeting at Gantz’ residence in the central Israeli city of Rosh Ha’ayin on Tuesday night marked the first time since 2010 that Abbas met with a senior Israeli official inside the borders of the Jewish state.

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It was the second meeting between the two since the new Israeli government was formed in June.

This past August, the defense minister traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah — the de facto administrative capital of the PA — to discuss security, political, civil, and economic issues with the Palestinian leader.

According to the Defense Ministry, Tuesday’s meeting lasted for two and a half hours, with part of the time spent with just Abbas and Gantz talking.

After the meeting, Gantz was said to agree to a request for approval of family reunification permits for 10,000 Palestinians, among other trust-building measures.

Ring-wing politicians in Israel — both from the opposition and coalition — blasted the meeting, which was also condemned by Palestinian factions.

Gantz responded to the condemnation by tweeting, “Only those who are responsible for sending soldiers into battle know how deep is the commitment to prevent it.”

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