Today, Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, in another indication of improving relations between the two sides.
Horowitz became the second senior Israeli official to meet Abbas since the new Israeli government took office in June. Defense Minister Benny Gantz also met Abbas at his West Bank offices in August.
The new Israeli government is made up of eight parties from across the political spectrum, from members of the far-right who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state to more conciliatory parties that support a two-state solution. Horowitz, who was accompanied by other members of his party, Meretz, including Arab Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Freij, headed the most pacifist faction in the coalition.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hails from a small, ultra-Orthodox religious party, and has ruled out the creation of a Palestinian state during his rule. But he also called for less friction, particularly through measures to boost the Palestinian economy.
According to the official news agency, Abbas “stressed the importance of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just and comprehensive peace.” Abbas’ government wants to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967.
Horowitz tweeted a picture of him with Abbas accompanied by the words: “We have a common mission: to preserve the hope of peace, based on the two-state solution.”
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