AA / Zain Khalil
The Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) announced that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz had agreed with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to provide a loan of half a billion shekels (approximately $ 155 million) to the Palestinian Authority.
Mahmoud Abbas received Gantz at the presidential seat in Ramallah on Sunday evening. This meeting, the first between the two officials, was denounced by the resistance movements “Hamas” and “Islamic Jihad” on Monday in two separate statements.
Kan reported on Monday that Gantz told Abbas during the meeting that Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman had agreed to a loan of half a billion shekels to the Palestinian Authority.
The official Israeli broadcaster added that the loan to the authority will be repaid from tax revenues paid from June 2022.
These are Palestinian tax revenues that the Israeli government collects on behalf of the Authority, on products imported by the Authority from Israel and abroad, at a commission of 3%.
Israel will also increase the number of work permits for Palestinians in the West Bank by 15,000, recruit 1,000 additional workers in the tourism sector and issue building permits to Palestinians in Area C, according to the same source.
Area C represents about 60% of the occupied West Bank and falls under Israel’s civil and security responsibility.
According to the agreements reached between Gantz and Abbas, Israel will begin “to regularize the situation of the thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank who have remained undocumented, including those who arrived from the Gaza Strip years before, as well as the visitors who came. from abroad and married later “.
These remarks refer to Palestinians who do not have an identity card issued by Israel, which is a condition for residing in the territories of the Palestinian Authority (the West Bank and Gaza).
According to the same source, Israel has agreed to make changes to the tax collection process for Palestinians, which would generate some NIS 10 million for the PA treasury (the channel did not specify whether this amount would be collected. by the authority monthly or annually).
For his part, the Israeli defense minister told reporters: “I told Abu Mazen (President Abbas) that we are not going anywhere and the Palestinians are not going anywhere.”
He added: “This meeting was aimed at building confidence and protecting the interests of Israel, as well as our precious relations with the Palestinian Authority, which, in my opinion, must be strengthened.”
“The stronger the Palestinian Authority, the weaker Hamas, and the more it expands its authority, the more security it will provide,” Gantz added.
Gantz and Abbas met at the presidential seat in Ramallah. This is the first official meeting of a senior Israeli government official with the Palestinian president since 2010, according to the official Israeli channel.
Until the publication of this information, the PA had not officially commented on what was published by Kan about the agreements between Abbas and Gantz.
Hamas condemned this meeting. His spokesman Hazem Qassem said on Monday in a statement consulted by the Anadolu Agency: “The meeting of the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas with the Zionist Minister of War Benny Gantz is condemnable and rejected by all patriots. It goes against the national sentiment of our Palestinian people. “
He added: “Such meetings fuel the illusion of the leaders of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah that anything can be accomplished for our Palestinian people through the unsuccessful settlement process,” noting that this behavior ” deepens the Palestinian political divide and complicates the situation. “
* Translated from Arabic by Mourad Belhaj
Only part of the dispatches, which the Anadolu Agency disseminates . (HAS), is disseminated on the AA site, in a summary manner. .