Palestinian President, Israeli Defence Minister Hold Rare Talks

Palestinian President, Israeli Defence Minister Hold Rare Talks

Andrew H. Sweet

The stepped-up contacts and Israeli gestures mark a shift in direction after the complete breakdown of communication between Abbas and Israeli leaders in recent years. Israel's new government has said it is interested in bolstering Abbas in his rivalry against Gaza's ruling Hamas group.

Gantz's office said he told Abbas that Israel would take new measures to strengthen the Palestinian economy. It said they also discussed security issues and agreed to remain in touch. It was believed to be the highest level public meeting between the sides since 2014.

Later on Monday, Gantz's office confirmed that Israel had agreed to loan the Palestinian Authority 500 million shekels ($155m). The money is to be repaid with tax funds that Israel collects typically for the Palestinians.

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