Israel will lend the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority more than $150 million after the sides held their highest-level meeting in years, Israeli officials said on Monday, while playing down prospects of any major diplomatic breakthrough.
Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who has overall responsibility for the Israeli-occupied West Bank, travelled to the Palestinian self-rule area of the territory for previously undisclosed talks on Sunday with President Mahmoud Abbas.
A source close to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the premier had approved the Gantz-Abbas meeting and deemed it a “routine” matter. “There is no diplomatic process with the Palestinians, nor will there be one,” the source told Reuters.
U.S.-sponsored talks on founding a Palestinian state stalled in 2014. The Gantz-Abbas meeting took place as Bennett, a nationalist who opposes Palestinian statehood, returned from his first talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington.
PA official Hussein Al Sheikh said the talks with Gantz included “all aspects” of Palestinian-Israeli relations.
Abbas coordinates West Bank security with Israel. Both sides are wary of Hamas Islamists who seized the Gaza Strip, another Palestinian territory, from Abbas in 2007.