By Anna Ahronheim, Tovah Lazaroff, and Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post—
Israel will make a series of goodwill gestures to the Palestinian Authority, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday after a rare meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas the night before in Ramallah. Among the economic gestures offered to Abbas was a NIS 500 million loan, he said.
The loan will be taken from tax funds Israel has withheld from the PA to protest what Jerusalem calls its pay-for-slay policy, by which Palestinian terrorists and their family members receive monetary stipends.
The two men also spoke about ways to regulate the status of thousands of West Bank Palestinians who lack documentation, as well as ways to streamline digital VAT accounting for all Palestinian businesses that make purchases from Israel. Many of the permit applications for Palestinians will be digitized to streamline the process and make it easier and cheaper.
The moves also include allowing an additional 16,000 Palestinians to work in Israel and having the Civil Administration approve more Palestinian building projects in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full IDF military and civilian control.
Gantz met with Abbas just hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett returned from Washington. The face-to-face meeting was the first in a decade between Abbas and such a high-level Israeli official.
“Neither we nor the Palestinians are going anywhere tomorrow morning,” and steps must be taken to build trust between Israelis and Palestinians, Gantz said Monday afternoon in a briefing with reporters. Continue Reading….