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Israel mulling post-Abbas era: Education minister

ISRAEL MULLING POST-ABBAS ERA: EDUCATION MINISTER

The Israeli government is currently mulling the implications of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's eventual departure from the political arena, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday.

"The tenure of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is drawing its last breath; it is irrelevant," Bennett, who also heads up Israel's hardline Jewish Home Party, told Israeli public radio.

"Israel is now thinking about the post-Abu Mazen [i.e., Mahmoud Abbas] era," Bennet said, adding that the self-proclaimed Jewish state was "not afraid" to end its longstanding security cooperation with Abbas's PA.

A vocal supporter of Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, Bennet went on to assert that the current Palestinian president "has no intention of making concessions for peace".

On Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh urged the PA to halt all security coordination with Israel in light of the U.S. administration's decision last month to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Israeli government has recently stepped up its criticism of Abbas due to the latter's rejection of the controversial U.S. policy shift on Jerusalem.

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