Israeli PM Neftali Bennett on Friday, 3 September 2021, said that he would not meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, given the latter’s decision to bring Israel before International Criminal Court ( ICC). In March, the ICC announced an investigation into possible war crimes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014. Back then, Abbas had welcomed the probe asserting that it was long overdue, but, the zionist regime had refused to co-operate with former PM Benjamin Netanyahu even terming it as an “attack on Israel”.
Speaking to Times of Israel, a participant of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations disclosed that Bennett had expressed his angst towards Massoud in an off the record zoom call. “As someone who comes from the business world, when someone sues me, I’m not really that nice to him, the newly minted PM had reckoned. Additionally, Bennett had also reiterated his decision that no possible breakthrough would be possible between Israel and Palestine in near future.
Earlier this week, an official close to Bennett had dismissed prospects of peace between the adversaries and denied any diplomatic process. Taking it a step ahead, Bennett asserted that what he views was a “dichotomy where either you go all at it with a Palestinian state or you do nothing.” However, the Israel PM touted possibilities of easing the lives of Palestinians, majorly with economic steps, to reduce conflict.
On Wednesday, Israel approved a series of measures easing the blockade of the besieged Gaza Strip, but warned that the steps were conditional upon ‘continued preservation of the region’s security stability for long term.’ Israel, along with Egypt, first imposed a blockade on the 140 sq mile sliver of land in 2007 after Hamas’ occupation. The Associated Press reported that the Neftali Benett administration has allowed the reopening of the main commercial crossing with the Palestinian enclave. Later in a statement, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli defence body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs announced that it has approved expanding the Gaza Strip’s fishing zone, opening the Kerem Shalom Crossing, increasing water supply to the territory, and increasing the number of Gazan merchants allowed to enter Israel.