'As far as I'm concerned, whenever politics clash with security, security must always prevail'
Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz promised to continue meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a meeting of his Blue and White faction on Monday.
Gantz said he was "disappointed" in the ministers who condemned the meeting between the two that took place last week, saying they were guided by political views rather than Israel's security needs.
"Behind closed doors, they sound different," he said, according to The Jerusalem Post.
"As far as I'm concerned, whenever politics clash with security, security must always prevail."
Several ministers publicly criticized Gantz, including Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Construction and Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel. All of them belong to the right-wing New Hope Party.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he gave his "full approval" for the meeting, according to The Times of Israel.
“The defense minister spoke with me in advance and I didn’t see any reason to prohibit [the meeting], including the location,” Bennett told reporters.
However, Bennett has reiterated he would never meet with Abbas.
When asked about this, Gantz said the prime minister had a right to a different opinion, The Jerusalem Post reported.
"The need to look after the safety of Israel's citizens and the fight against Hamas is the main reason I met with Abbas last week, and it's the reason that I will continue to meet with him and others in the discourse that benefits stability, security and our interests," he said.