Palestinian president hosts Israeli minister in West Bank
RAMALLAH (AP) — Sunday’s late-night meeting between the Palestinian president and two Israeli Cabinet ministers was a sign that ties are slowly improving.
Israeli health minister Nitzan Horowitz, and Esawi Freij, Regional Cooperation Minister, were the second group to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abdullah since the establishment of the new Israeli government in June. In August, Abbas was also visited by Benny Gantz, Defense Minister.
The new Israeli government is made up of eight parties from across the political spectrum. These parties range from extreme-right extremists who oppose a Palestinian state, to moderate parties who support a two-state solution. Freij and Horowitz were joined by members of the Meretz party, which is the most dovish part of the coalition. The party is led by Horowitz.
Israeli Prime minister Naftali Bennett is from a small, religious party and has ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state under his watch. He has called for the reduction of frictions, in particular by taking steps to improve the Palestinian economy.
According to Wafa, Abbas’ autonomy government seeks to establish a Palestinian state in West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem — areas captured by Israel during the 1967 Mideast conflict.
Horowitz shared a photo of himself with Abbas via Twitter. He said, “We have a common mission: to preserve peace on the basis of two-state solutions.”