After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ unusual visit to Israel garnered condemnation from the enclave’s Hamas rulers, an Israeli was wounded in a gun attack on the Gaza border on Wednesday, according to the military.
The Israeli military said it retaliated with tank fire, which it said was directed towards Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip. Three Palestinian farmers were injured, according to Gaza health officials.
Late Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz met Abbas at his residence, marking the Palestinian leader’s first visit to Israel in more than a decade, albeit it signalled little hope for resuming long-stalled peace talks.
Following their meeting, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced a series of “confidence-building measures” that would make it easier for hundreds of Palestinian businesspeople to enter Israel.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Abbas was “deepening Palestinian political divisions” by visiting Gantz and supporting accommodation with “the occupation,” a word used by the Islamist militant organisation to describe Israel.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting attack from Gaza, which injured a civilian, according to the Israeli military. Since an 11-day conflict in May between Israel and Gaza terrorists, the border has been mostly quiet.
Abbas and Gantz last met in the occupied West Bank in August. Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian official, said the talks on Tuesday focused on the “need of constructing a political horizon” for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Gantz made no mention of a peace process in his Twitter summary of the meeting, which has been delayed since 2014 after US-backed talks collapsed. The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“We addressed the implementation of economic and civilian measures, as well as the significance of deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence – for both Israelis and Palestinians’ well-being,” Gantz stated.
Over the issue of statehood, Israel’s multi-party government is deeply divided. Palestinian rivalries are still rife, with Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip after four wars with Israel.
Gantz allowed registration as West Bank residents for about 6,000 persons who had been living in the land, which Israel won in a 1967 war, without legal status, according to the Defense Ministry. This might facilitate travel for thousands of Palestinians.
According to the ministry, another 3,500 Gaza residents would receive residency documents.
The discussion came after a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in recent weeks. Israeli settlers have also been accused of attacking Palestinians.