Palestinian President Abbas pays rare working visit to Israel

For the first time in more than ten years, Palestinian President Abbas paid a working visit to Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz received him in his own home. During the two-and-a-half hour meeting, among other things, economic issues and security were discussed.

Little has been disclosed about the precise content of the conversation. For example, it is unclear whether the meeting has produced concrete commitments or agreements. According to a Palestinian minister, work was underway to create a โ€œpolitical horizon that will lead to a solutionโ€ of the tensions between them.

The exceptional visit follows a meeting between Gantz and Abbas in the Palestinian city of Ramallah last summer. Also then, economic cooperation was discussed, as well as security issues.

Peace talks

The relationship between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities has been difficult for a long time. Last year, Abbas threatened to cancel security cooperation with Israel, in response to Israels plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Formal peace talks between the two parties have not taken place in over a decade. The new Israeli right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Bennett has previously ruled out such talks. However, he said he was in favour of better relations with the Palestinian Authority. He also says he wants to improve living conditions in the West Bank.

Recently, tension in the West Bank was resumed, as Israeli troops hit battle with hundreds of Palestinians. This followed a number of incidents surrounding the eviction of a Jewish religious school.