Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Nov. 21, 2021

In the wake of the visit by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to the Rosh HaAyin home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, a Ramallah official has announced that Israel will grant another 10,000 “family reunification” permits for illegal Arab immigrants to become citizens of the Palestinian Authority.

Gantz Gives Away the Store to Mahmoud Abbas, Faces Harsh Criticism from the Right

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Hussein a-Sheikh, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs, who was present at the Abu Mazen-Gantz meeting on Tuesday night, said the request for the registration of ten thousand people in all PA areas in the Population Registry was approved, according to the Abu Ali Express website.

A-Sheikh announced the news in a tweet posted Wednesday afternoon.

A-Sheikh is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee, which rules the leading faction in the Palestinian Authority government.

Gantz and Abbas met for a discussion on “a number of security and civilian topics,” the Defense Ministry said in a communique.

“Minister Gantz informed Chairman Abbas of his intention to continue advancing confidence-building measures in economic and civilian areas, as was determined in their previous meeting,” the ministry said, adding that the defense minister had “emphasized the parties’ shared interest in deepening security coordination, maintaining regional stability and preventing terror and violence.”

The defense minister announced Wednesday morning that he had agreed to advance tax payments to the Palestinian Authority as one of those “confidence building measures” discussed with Abbas — an advance of some NIS 100 million ($32 million) — to be transferred to Ramallah. The money repays that which was deducted from the taxes and customs fees collected on behalf of the PA due to its payments to convicted, incarcerated terrorists and the families of those who died murdering Israelis.

Here’s what the latest concession means for Israelis in real terms: Israel has allowed tens of thousands of foreigners living illegally in the PA territories to become permanent citizens of the Palestinians Authority, essentially implementing the PA’s “Right of Return.”

About two months ago, Israel approved several hundred registration requests, for the first time in 12 years.

Some call the approvals of these requests “the quiet right of return” because they make it possible to permanently settle illegal immigrants who have come to the Palestinian Authority territories from other Arab countries.

Mahmoud al-Habash, Abu Mazen’s adviser on religious affairs, said about the meeting with Gantz in an interview with to the “Al-Arabiya” network that they “achieved achievements without having to pay a political price.”

Abu Ali Express contributed to this report.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.