Hamas Slams PNA Leader Abbas for Meeting Israeli Defence Minister for First Time in 10 Years

© REUTERS / POOLPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas adjusts his glasses as he listens during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured), in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 25, 2021.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas adjusts his glasses as he listens during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not pictured), in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 25, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.12.2021
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Earlier this year, the Palestinian political and militant movement Hamas said that they don't foresee any positive changes from Israel's post-Netanyahu government, arguing that Tel Aviv will continue to stick to its alleged policy of breaching Palestinians' rights.
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas sat down with Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz in the city of Rosh Ha'ayin on Tuesday, in the PA leader's first high-level talks in the Jewish state in a decade.
© REUTERS / CORINNA KERNBenny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020
Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.12.2021
Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020

Gantz, for his part, tweeted that he and Abbas discussed "the implementation of economic and civilian measures, and emphasised the importance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence - for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians".

He was partly echoed by Abbas adviser Hussein al-Sheikh who stressed that Tuesday's meeting "dealt with the importance of creating a political horizon that leads to a political solution […] as well as the tense conditions in the field due to the practices of settlers".
The adviser was apparently referring to Israel recently approving plans to build another 2,860 housing units in 30 settlements on Palestinian lands, where the Jewish state is trying to extend its sovereignty.
Израильская противоракетная система Железный купол перехватывает ракеты, запущенные из сектора Газа в направлении Израиля - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
With Israel & Hamas Locking Horns Again, a Gaza-Based Expert Says Full-Fledged War Still Unlikely
Al-Sheikh's remarks came as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who assumed office in mid-June, remains opposed to renewed peace negotiations with the Palestinians.The latter signalled a readiness for such talks earlier this year.
Gantz, however, made it plain in August that he perceives the Abbas government as the only alternative to the Palestinian political and military movement Hamas that governs Gaza. Hamas is a group blacklisted by Israel as a terrorist organisation.

"If the Palestinian Authority is stronger, Hamas will be weaker. When the Palestinian Authority has more ability to enforce order, there will be more security, and our hand will be forced less", the Israeli defence minister asserted.

Hamas has, meanwhile, slammed Abbas for meeting Gantz, slamming the PNA leader's move as "reprehensible and condemnable".

"This is an attack on the uprising taking place in the West Bank", the militant group's spokesman, Hazim Qasim, argued, in an apparent nod to a recent series of Hamas attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The statement was preceded by another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, tweeting that the group is "not counting on any change in the occupation [Israeli] governments, since they are united on the policy of killing and confiscating Palestinian rights".

Israel's Settlement Construction in West Bank

As for the issue of Israel's settlements in the West Bank, considered to be an occupied territory by the UN, it remains one of the main stumbling blocks in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The two-state solution to the conflict is a UN-backed principle, under which two independent sovereign states will coexist peacefully. Its implementation remains stalled, however, as the two parties have not yet agreed on where the border between them should run and who will possess Jerusalem.
A Palestinian laborer works at the construction site of a house during a lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tubas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 15, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.03.2021
World
White House Wants to Make Two-State Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Priority, Report Says
In January 2020, the Trump administration unveiled its so-called "Deal of the Century" peace plan envisioning a two-state solution, including the recognition of Israeli claims to settler areas in the West Bank, the extension of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, and the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
For the Palestinians, who immediately rejected the plan, the "Deal of the Century" offered $50 billion in infrastructure and investment assistance, pledging a few neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem for a Palestinian state capital.
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