The head of Israel’s General Security Service (Shin Bet), Nadav Argaman, met in Ramallah with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
The meeting was held last week at the home of the Palestinian president, with the knowledge of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a report in the Israeli media Kan. During the meeting, they discussed efforts to reach a cease-fire in Gaza and some other issues related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Among other things, they discussed the possibility of Israel cutting from the Palestinian budget the amount equivalent to the Palestinian Authority’s routine payments to terrorists and their families. However, the Palestinian president rejected this initiative and said that “the moment Israel cuts the money from the salaries (of the terrorists), we will cancel the security coordination with Israel”.
According to data released by the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority pays about $350 million a year in salaries to terrorists and their families.
Security coordination refers to the joint work between the Israeli army and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT unit), with Palestinian Authority military representatives, to prevent major incidents in the territories by extremist organizations.
This coordination is due to the mutual interests in fighting the pockets of Palestinian extremist organizations such as Hamas which defies the Abbas government and also threatens to attack the lives of Israeli civilians.
According to the report, Argaman’s visit also sought to “soften” the Palestinian president’s positions a few days before next week’s PLO conference, where new measures and announcements may be taken against Israel and Hamas.
In the past, the president of the Palestinian Authority admitted that he meets routinely with the head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, and said they generally agree on 99% of things related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.