Two Israeli ministers from the left-wing Meretz party, Nitzan Horowitz and Isawi Frej, met with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday night.
Health minister Horowitz said his party was working to “keep the two-state solution alive” within Israel’s new coalition government, which is led by right-wing Naftali Bennett.
“There is no other solution”, Horowitz made clear following the meeting, appealing to Israelis not to “let it disappear” or allow its “chances […] in the future” to be “sabotaged”.
The comments highlighted the breadth of opinions towards the Palestinians among Israel’s diverse ruling coalition, which includes right-wing, centrist and left-wing Zionist parties, alongside the Islamist Ra’am party.
Abbas appeared to acknowledge this, saying he was prepared to meet with all members of the coalition, and inviting them to Ramallah.
“We must begin to create confidence-building measures, to prove that we intend to make peace, and to enable me to protect the hope of the Palestinian people. If we lose hope, we lose the future”, a Meretz statement quoted Abbas as having said.
“You don’t have to agree, but you have to talk”, Abbas said.
The PA leader rarely met with Israeli ministers for several years during the Netanyahu administration between 2009–2021, which saw ties with the Palestinians grow increasingly strained.
However, the new Israeli government has worked to strengthen Abbas’s government.
Defence minster Benny Gantz, who met with Abbas in August, has announced a string of initiatives to help and bolster the PA. This was the first meeting of a senior Israeli leader that Abbas had hosted in a decade.