Ahead of Biden’s visit, Gantz approves ‘confidence-building measures’ with Palestinians | JNS

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday approved a series of “confidence-building” measures between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, ahead of US President Joe Biden’s arrival in Israel on Wednesday.

The measures were approved following a meeting last week between Gantz and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and additional measures are under consideration according to Channel 12 News.

Among the measures Gantz approved are the approval of six Palestinian construction plans in Judea and Samaria and the authorization of 1,500 additional workers to Israel from the Gaza Strip.

A new crossing point between Israel and the Palestinian territories will also be opened in northern Judea and Samaria to allow Israeli Arabs access to Jenin, according to the report.

The head of the Gush Etzion regional council, Shlomo Ne’eman, strongly criticized the moves, saying they come at the expense of Zionism and Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

“Gantz approves…construction plans for Arabs in Gush Etzion, in a year in which we have barely seen permits issued for Jewish construction. This is a derogatory parting gift to Gush Etzion from the Bennett-Lapid government,” he said.

“These approvals give the green light to the PA to transfer Arab residents from Areas A and B of Judea and Samaria to Area C, the part under full Israeli control, effectively allowing them to take control of strategic swaths of land.” , Ne’eman said.

“This transfer de facto places Area C under the control of the PA. These are very serious measures from a national and Zionist point of view. Blue and White/New Hope defense minister actually gives new hope [regarding] the creation of a PA state,” he added.

“If the State of Israel has to pay such a high price to host President Joe Biden, who needs a guest like this? he said.

Despite confidence-building measures and the series of high-level meetings between Israel and the PA in recent days, Palestinians do not expect a political announcement to be made during Biden’s visit, according to Channel 12.

During Biden’s two-day visit to Israel, he is scheduled to meet with Abbas for just 45 minutes and is expected to deal primarily with financial aid, according to the report.

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