New Shin Bet chief said to meet with Palestinian leader Abbas in Ramallah

Ronen Bar reportedly held talks last week on security coordination in West Bank, efforts to broker ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza

Head of the Shin Bet security service Ronen Bar leaves his home in Rishpon, central Israel, October 11, 2021. (Flash90)
Head of the Shin Bet security service Ronen Bar leaves his home in Rishpon, central Israel, October 11, 2021. (Flash90)

New Shin Bet security service chief Ronen Bar met last week with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, according to Hebrew media reports Tuesday.

The two reportedly discussed security coordination in the West Bank and efforts to reach a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

It was the first time the two have met.

There was no confirmation of the meeting from the Shin Bet, which Bar took over in October.

The new government, which took office in June, has taken steps to boost trust with the Palestinians, despite the fact that there are currently no public peace talks being held with the PA.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas in August, the first such public meeting between high-level Israeli and Palestinian officials in over a decade. At a briefing following the meeting, Gantz called for the beleaguered PA to be bolstered as a bulwark against Hamas and other terror groups.

Then in October, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and Regional Development Minister Isawi Frej, both from the left-wing Meretz party, met with Abbas in Ramallah.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (center) meets with Meretz ministers Nitzan Horowitz (center-left) and Isawi Frej (center-right), on October 3, 2021 (Meretz)

Horowitz said after the meeting that his party was working to “keep the two-state solution alive” within Israel’s current government, which is headed by the right-wing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Abbas has reportedly for months been trying unsuccessfully to hold a meeting with Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas. Ra’am, an Arab Israeli Islamist party, is also member of the Israeli government coalition.

On Sunday, Bar reportedly visited Egypt for talks with his Egyptian counterpart that also addressed Gaza. He was reportedly part of an Israeli delegation to Cairo that included Bennett’s national security adviser, Eyal Hulata.

The meeting, like previous ones in recent months, was aimed at discussing the situation in the Gaza Strip, and the continuation of a potential comprehensive long-term truce process with the Hamas terror group.

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