Israeli PM’s Office: ‘No Peace Talks’ with Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett visits the Gaza division. (Photo: PM of Israel Twitter Page)

An Israeli official close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett downplayed on Monday the first official Israeli-Palestinian talks since the premier took office in June, saying there won’t be any peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

According to Israeli media reports, the official stressed: “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one”.

“This is a meeting that deals with security issues,” the official said, adding that it was approved in advance by the prime minister. “[It] covered routine issues between the defense establishment and the Palestinian Authority.”

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a rare meeting with the 85-year-old Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

It marked the first high-level face-to-face meeting between both sides in over a decade.

According to Gantz’s office, the politicians held two rounds of discussions. The first was attended by Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, Ghassan Alian, Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majid Faraj and Al-Sheikh. In the second, Gantz and Abbas spoke privately.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri slammed the meeting, calling it “dangerous and disrespectful”. Zuhri accused the Palestinian Authority of “caring more about security cooperation with Israel than the national interests of Palestine”.

Bennett is a hardline nationalist who opposes Palestinian statehood and previously led a powerful settler lobbying council.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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