'The US is very pleased' with Gantz-Abbas meeting

Defense Minister Benny Gantz promised a NIS 100 million loan and legal status for 9,500 Palestinians during the rare meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes a statement as he attends the Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement at the Palestinian Presidential Office in Ramallah, on December 18, 2019. (photo credit: FLASH90)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes a statement as he attends the Revolutionary Council Meeting of Fatah Movement at the Palestinian Presidential Office in Ramallah, on December 18, 2019.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

WASHINGTON – The US is “very pleased” with the meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at Gantz’s home, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price tweeted on Wednesday, adding: “We hope confidence-building measures discussed will accelerate momentum to further advance freedom, security and prosperity for Palestinians and Israelis alike in 2022.”

Gantz promised a NIS 100 million loan and legal status for 9,500 Palestinians during the rare meeting. “Only those who are responsible for sending soldiers into battle know how deeply the obligation to prevent it runs,” Gantz tweeted after the late Tuesday parley in his Rosh Ha’ayin home. “This is how I have always acted, and this is how I will continue to act. We discussed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and emphasized the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Rosh Ha’ayin meeting took place amid an escalation of violence in the West Bank and concern about renewed Gaza violence. Palestinians in Gaza shot and lightly wounded a 33-year-old military contractor who was doing maintenance work on the security barrier along the Gaza border on Wednesday. The IDF targeted a number of Hamas posts in Gaza in response.

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (credit: REUTERS/CORINNA KERN, REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/FILE PHOTO) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (credit: REUTERS/CORINNA KERN, REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/FILE PHOTO)

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.