Gantz and Abbas
Gantz and Abbasצילום: אבשלום שושני - פלאש 90

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved a number of measures to benefit the Palestinian Authority, following his meeting with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

The benefits package, which the Defense Ministry described as a series of “confidence-building measures,” includes advances for tax payments collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf, amounting to 100 million shekels and status approvals on a humanitarian basis for 6,000 residents of Judea and Samaria, and an additional status approval for 3,500 Gaza residents.

Furthermore, the package includes approval for 600 entry permits for Palestinian businessmen, and 500 additional permits for business people to enter Israel with their vehicles, and dozens of VIP permits for senior PA officials.

During the meeting with Abbas, Gantz offered a number of economic benefits for the PA, including the possible reduction of fees for purchases between Israel and the PA, easing import conditions at the Israel-Jordanian border - which also serves the PA - and other measures which could increase revenue to the PA by hundreds of millions of shekels annually.

Gantz hosted Abbas at his home in Rosh Ha'Ayin Tuesday evening, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's approval. The meeting marked Abbas' first public visit to pre-1967 Israel since 2016.

The meeting was also attended on the Israeli side by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Ghasan Alyan. On the Palestinian Arab side, it was attended by PA “civil affairs minister” Hussein al-Sheikh and the head of the Palestinian security services, Majed Faraj.

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.