Ahead of Israeli Minister of Health Nitzan Horowitz’s (Meretz) meeting with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud (Abu Mazen) Abbas this week, senior officials in Ramallah told TPS on Sunday that the Palestinian Authority strategy behind the meetings with multiple senior Israeli officials is to create a situation in which many policy meetings take place, in order to force Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s (Yamina) into becoming the minority position within his own government (which he actually already is).
Another goal of the PA’s meetings with officials in Israel, including Horowitz, and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz (Blue & White) a few weeks ago, was to embarrass Bennett and publicly signal to him that he holds positions that are not supported within his own government.
Bennett has stated he will not meet with Abbas. However, a senior PA official told TPS that they are still looking for mediation channels that will lead to a meeting between Abbas and Bennett. The Palestinian Authority was unhappy that Bennett completely ignored them in his recent speech at the UN.
The PA also acknowledges that Horowitz attended the meeting to signal to his own electorate that he is still loyal to the two-state solution and is committed to a political process even under the Bennett government, because of his fear that Israel will go back to the polls in the near future following a possible budget crisis in the upcoming two months.
The PA is aware that Horowitz is exploiting his contacts with the Palestinian Authority for political purposes, even though he does not have the power to bring about a significant breakthrough. However, it suits their purpose to use him to embarrass Bennett and try to bring about a meeting with him.