Gantz-Abbas meeting angers right-wing politicians

Written by on December 29, 2021

Gantz informed Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid ahead of the meeting. Bennett told confidants privately that he was not in favor of the idea but could not stop it.

Published: DECEMBER 29, 2021 10:25


Updated: DECEMBER 29, 2021 10:32

 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures 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. (photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures 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.

(photo credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The meeting between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Gantz’s home in Rosh Ha’ayin on Tuesday raised the ire of right-wing ministers and MKs in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s governing coalition. 

Gantz informed Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid ahead of the meeting. Bennett told confidants privately that he was not in favor of the idea but could not stop it.

Most of the ministers in the security cabinet were not told about the meeting and heard about it from the press late Tuesday night or even Wednesday morning.

“I would not invite to my home someone who pays salaries to murderers of Israelis and who is trying to put me on trial for war crimes,” New Hope Minister Ze’ev Elkin told KAN Radio on Wednesday in criticism of Gantz.

Other right-wing ministers, including Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar have yet to respond. Elkin said the Likud had no right to criticize Gantz’s meeting, because Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu also met repeatedly with Abbas and relinquished land to the Palestinian Authority.

PM Netanyahu and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, 2010 (credit: GPO)PM Netanyahu and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, 2010 (credit: GPO)

The Likud released a statement calling Bennett’s government “an Israeli-Palestinian government that is returning Abbas and the Palestinians to the agenda. 

“Concessions that will be dangerous to Israeli security are only a matter of time,” the Likud said. 

The Religious Zionist Party lamented that that “a decade after the Right succeeded in making Abbas irrelevant and persona non grata around the world and taking dividing the Land of Israel and forming a terror state off the international agenda, Bennett and his left-wing government are returning Abbas to center stage.”

Meretz and Labor politicians welcomed the meeting. Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz said strengthening ties and seeking a diplomatic solution are key interests of both peoples.

“Besides Hamas there and [Netanyahu] here, does anyone really oppose Gantz meeting Abbas?” Labor MK Emilie Moatti asked. “The defense minister is right to strengthen the moderates and make the extremists irrelevant. Seeking a diplomatic agreement is the most patriotic act that can be done for our wonderful state and its citizens.”

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