Gantz Offers Abbas Loan and Other Help to Stabilize PA

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel is offering the Palestinian Authority a loan of 500 million shekels, ($155 million) in order to prevent its financial collapse, according to media reports on Monday.

The loan idea came out of a meeting Gantz had with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday night.

The proposed loan would reportedly be funded with money deducted from tax payments to the PA to offset the latter’s payouts to Palestinian terrorists

Additional measures they discussed to help out the Palestinians included ways to regulate the status of thousands of Palestinians who lack documentation (after security vetting), and ways to streamline digital VAT accounting for all Palestinian businesses that make purchases from Israel.

Some 16,000 Palestinians will also be added to the list of those permitted to work in Israel, 1,000 of them in the tourism sector.

Gantz said he agreed to approve more building in Area C of Yehuda and Shomron, which is under full Israeli security control. Palestinians complain that the authorities deny them permits, forcing them to resort to illegal construction.

“I told Abu Mazen that we aren’t going anywhere and that the Palestinians aren’t going anywhere. I went to the meeting in order to build confidence and preserve the interests of the State of Israel and the important ties we have with the Palestinian Authority, which I believe we need to strengthen,” Gantz said, adding that their talks had nothing to do with restarting the peace process..

“As the Palestinian Authority gets stronger, Hamas gets weaker, and so long as it has greater governance, we will have more security and we will have to act less,” Gantz added.