President Abbas and Israeli Defence Minister Gantz discussed illegal Jewish settlements, economic, security and civilian issues, officials from both sides say.

There have been no substantive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in over a decade.
There have been no substantive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in over a decade. (TRTWorld)

Palestine's President Mahmud Abbas has visited Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz during a rare trip to Israel for what Gantz's department said were talks on security and civil matters.

Abbas discussed creating a political horizon, leading to a political solution of decades-old Mideast conflict "in accordance with international resolutions," Palestine's officials said of Tuesday's meeting.

Gantz told Abbas that he intended to "continue to promote actions to strengthen confidence in the economic and civilian fields, as agreed during their last meeting," an Israeli Defence Ministry statement said.

"The two men discussed security and civil matters," it added of the meeting, which Israeli media reported took place at Gantz's home in Rosh HaAyin, central Israel.

In late August, Gantz visited the Palestinian Authority's headquarters for talks with Abbas, the first official meeting at such a level in several years.

But after those talks, Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that there was no peace process ongoing with Palestine, "and there won't be one".

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Meeting for 'political solution'

Palestine's Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al Sheikh tweeted on that "Abbas met with Benny Gantz, where the meeting dealt with the importance of creating a political horizon that leads to a political solution in accordance with international resolutions".

The two also discussed "the tense conditions on the ground due to the practices of [illegal] settlers, and the meeting dealt with many security, economic and humanitarian issues".

Opposition party Likud condemned the latest meeting, saying that "concessions dangerous for Israel's security were only a matter of time".

"The Israeli-Palestinian government has put the Palestinians and Abbas back on the agenda... it is dangerous for Israel," the party added in a statement.

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Tense ties 

Relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, have deteriorated substantially in recent years.

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu sidelined the issue during his 2009 to 2021 tenure as prime minister with peace talks suspended in 2014 while illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank expanded.

Right-winger Bennett, the former head of an illegal settler lobbying council who opposes Palestinian statehood, leads a coalition that took over in June.

The talks come amid a spike this month in violence in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israeli forces since the 1967 Six Day War.

Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers live in communities in occupied West Bank regarded as illegal under international law.

There have been several incidents in recent weeks in which illegal settlers have attacked Palestinians, including with stones and other weapons.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies