Middle East/North Africa

Israel approves measures aimed at improving relations with Palestinians after meeting

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Israel on Wednesday approved measures with the goal of improving relations with Palestinians following a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Gantz made the decision to approve a number of measures after he met with Abbas on Tuesday night at his private residence, according to The Associated Press. The meeting marked Abbas’s first meeting with an Israeli official within the country since 2010.

During the meeting, the pair reportedly discussed security coordination between Israel and Palestine. 

According to Gantz’s office, he approved “confidence-building measures” such as the authorization of permits for Palestinian merchants and VIPs, the transfer of tax payments to the Palestinian Authority and the approval of residency status for thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, AP reported.

The meeting reportedly drew backlash from Israeli opposition lawmakers such as the largest party in Parliament, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. Current Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has expressed opposition to Palestinian statehood and has shown little interest in reviving peace talks.

Bennett’s government, however, has said that it does want to reduce tensions between Israel and Palestine through improving West Bank living conditions, according to AP.

Palestine is interested in becoming an independent state, including areas in east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and all of the West Bank.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Israel Israel-Palestine conflict Palestine

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