What do we have here?
A STARK reversal of Bibi Netanyahu’s policies for years…..
And an effort to move the politics of that region away from confrontation ….
Things will NOT be easy….
Internal politics for both sides will be impediments….
But it IS a change….
And the Biden admin is happy about this….
One night last month, a top Israeli minister traveled the winding roads of the occupied West Bank to meet Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.
The meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mr. Abbas at the octogenarian Palestinian leader’s private residence — less than a 10-minute drive from the Israeli military’s regional headquarters — lasted only about 90 minutes, but it immediately made waves in Israel and the West Bank.
It was the first time in more than seven years that a senior Israeli minister was known to have met with Mr. Abbas. Israel’s previous government, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had denigrated Mr. Abbas as an intransigent inciter of violence and never met with him.
The August meeting is the most prominent piece of evidence of a new, more cooperative approach to dealing with the Palestinian Authority, which senior members of Israel’s new government see as a bulwark against the Islamist militant group Hamas.
Since the government took office in June, other ministers have met with their Palestinian counterparts and Israeli officials said they were taking an array of concrete steps to benefit Palestinians economically, increase security cooperation and to change some policies that had been denounced as discriminatory.
“The Palestinian Authority is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and we are working to strengthen the P.A.,” Mr. Gantz told diplomats at a recent briefing.
But the budding entente has clear limits, given that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has ruled out the possibility of peace talks and the creation of a Palestinian state. Those constraints have led some critics to characterize his government as a kind of Netanyahu-lite and to attack the Palestinian Authority for going along with the new measures….
People who have spoken to Mr. Abbas [PLO] recently said he understands the political limits of Israel’s current government and accepts these cooperative measures as a good starting point for engagement.
He is also following the guidance of the Biden administration, which is promoting the measures as part of what it casts as a long-term process to advance efforts to end the conflict and achieve a two-state solution…….