Benny Gantz in direct message to Palestinians: Return to negotiations

Gantz touched on the effect of the coronavirus on Palestinians saying that Israel will work to provide Palestinians with aid.

Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz delivers a statement to the media at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020.  (photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)
Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz delivers a statement to the media at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020.
(photo credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/POOL)
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz addressed the Palestinian public directly for the first time on Friday, calling on them to return to direct negotiations with Israel and coordinate on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gantz also welcomed the return of contact between the Palestinian Authority and Israel that he said was achieved through "efforts made by both parties."
Gantz delivered the message to Palestinians in a video posted on COGAT's Arabic language Facebook page.


"The Middle East is changing," said Gantz, touching on recent normalization agreements made between Israel and multiple Arab countries. "It is in your interest to integrate and to return to the negotiation table and create hope for the future of the next generations.
Gantz touched on the effect of the coronavirus on Palestinians, saying that he instructed Israel's defense organizations to work with Israel's ministries to provide Palestinians with aid. He said that Israel would coordinate to make sure Palestinians have access to a vaccine and will begin testing those who work in Israel at checkpoints, so that they can continue working in Israel.
Gantz went on to mention potential joint-projects and changes that could be made in Israeli policy if two main conditions are met: an end to Hamas military development and attacks on Israel from Gaza, and the return of captives held by Hamas.
"If these two basic humanitarian conditions are met, we can make your lives much better and improve the status for all residents of the region," said Gantz.
Potential plans include "expanding the movement of merchants and the entrance of workers from Gaza to Israel [and] helping industry and setting up joint industrial areas," he said.
Gantz went on to list other potential changes including "big and meaningful processes to improve and strengthen the water and energy industries and develop agricultural exports."