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Israel’s defence minister has announced a series of gestures aimed at strengthening the Palestinian Authority, including plans to loan $150m to the cash-strapped autonomy government in the occupied West Bank.

The announcement on Monday came a day after Defence Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the first high-level meeting between the two sides in years.

The Israeli move comes two days after President Joe Biden urged Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennet during a White House meeting to take steps toward improving the lives of Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance factions condemned the meeting between Gantz and Abbas. Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem said that such meetings “will deepen the Palestinian division and complicate the Palestinian situation”.

He said Sunday’s meeting “was a continuation of the PA delusion of the possibility of achieving something to our people through the failed settlement path”.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tareq Selmi described Abbas-Gantz meeting as a “stab”.

The meeting “came at a time when the Israeli forces are continuing their attacks on Gaza and maintaining its years-long blockade on the territory,” he said.

“The blood of [Palestinian] children killed by the [Israeli] occupation army upon orders from Gantz is still on the ground and has not dried yet,” Selmi said.

A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Gantz and Abbas discussed possible steps towards improving relations – including Palestinian demands for a halt in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank, allowing the unification of families with relatives inside Israel, and allowing more Palestinian workers into Israel.

He said Sunday’s meeting “was a continuation of the PA delusion of the possibility of achieving something to our people through the failed settlement path”.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Tareq Selmi described Abbas-Gantz meeting as a “stab”.

The meeting “came at a time when the Israeli forces are continuing their attacks on Gaza and maintaining its years-long blockade on the territory,” he said.

“The blood of [Palestinian] children killed by the [Israeli] occupation army upon orders from Gantz is still on the ground and has not dried yet,” Selmi said.

A Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Gantz and Abbas discussed possible steps towards improving relations – including Palestinian demands for a halt in Israeli military operations in the occupied West Bank, allowing the unification of families with relatives inside Israel, and allowing more Palestinian workers into Israel.

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