Hamas, Islamic Jihad Blast Abbas Over Meeting With Gantz

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Militant gunmen belonging to the Aqsa, Qassam, and Islamic Jihad brigades in Jenin, earlier this month
Militant gunmen belonging to the Aqsa, Qassam, and Islamic Jihad brigades in Jenin, earlier this monthCredit: JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticized on Monday the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz, held Sunday night in Ramallah.

Calling the meeting "a dangerous step," Abu Zuhri said it was disrespectful and proves that the PA is more concerned with maintaining security coordination with Israel than supporting the national Palestinian interest.

The Islamic Jihad also condemned the meeting, and accused the PA of turning its back on the national Palestinian consensus by meeting with "the Zionist enemy."

Sunday's talks marked the first meeting between a senior Israeli government official and the Palestinian Authority leader since 2010.

According to a statement from Gantz's office, the two discussed national security, civil and economic issues, as well as the current security and financial situation in the West Bank and Gaza.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned from a visit to Washington, D.C. on Sunday night, and was notified about the meeting in advance.

A source close to Bennett said "there is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one." The source added that "the meeting between Gantz and Abu Mazen [Abbas] was approved in advance by the prime minister. The meeting covered routine issues between the defense establishment and the Palestinian Authority." 

On Friday, during Bennett's meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, the Israeli prime minister clarified that Israel has no intention of advancing a diplomatic process with the Palestinians due to the current political circumstances. But due to this situation, he added, he is eager to advance fiscal measures with the Palestinian Authority, which is suffering from an economic crisis.

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