Hamas protests along border fence
Hamas protests along border fence Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Hamas on Tuesday condemned the meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, saying that "this is a stabbing in the back of the intifada that is taking place in the West Bank."

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Hazem Qassem, added that "the fact that the meeting is taking place while Palestinian residents of the West Bank are being attacked by settlers only intensifies the crime of the leadership of the Palestinian Authority."

The organization also published a cartoon in which Abbas is seen polishing the shoes of the Israeli Defense Minister.

The meeting between Gantz and Abbas took place at Gantz’s home in Rosh HaAyin.

It was fully coordinated with the Prime Minister's Office and with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett himself and dealt with security and economic matters, according to officials in Gantz’s office. The meeting lasted about two and a half hours and was divided into two parts - one took place in an extensive forum and the other in private between the Minister of Defense and Abbas.

The Likud responded to the meeting and said, "Bennett's Israeli-Palestinian government puts Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians back on the agenda. Concessions that are dangerous to Israel's security are only a matter of time. The Bennett-Sa'ar-Lapid government is dangerous to Israel," the Likud said.

The Religious Zionist Party said, "For 10 years, the right has succeeded in making Abbas irrelevant and a persona non grata in the world and removing the discourse of dividing the country and establishing a state of terror in the heart of the Land of Israel from the agenda."

"Bennett and his left-wing government bring Oslo back to the table and Abbas to the center of the stage. Bennett, bad for the Jews," the party added.

Gantz previously met with Abbas in August to discuss measures to strengthen the PA's economy. Following the meeting, Israel agreed to loan the PA 500 million shekels.

A senior official in the government criticized Gantz following his first meeting with Abbas, saying he “only cares about his own political interests” and “is behaving like a government within a government.”

The Defense Minister, however, insisted that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was aware of his meeting with Abbas and approved it.

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