Gantz
Maj. Gen. Gantz. Photo by Ilan Assayag
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz at Ben-Gurion International Airport 45 minutes before his plane took off for the United States on Wednesday.

Netanyahu conferred with Gantz about the IDF’s preparedness for the possibility of violent demonstrations in the West Bank over the coming days during the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations.

Gantz informed Netanyahu that the IDF does not believe that violent riots are imminent in the West Bank, but that it is ready for any eventuality, including an upswing in violence. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is expected to return Thursday from the U.S. in order to command the security forces in the event of Palestinian demonstrations in the territories.

A source in the prime minister’s entourage told writers on the plane, “We don’t see signs of violence in the West Bank, but it could happen and we are taking all the possibilities into account. At this stage, we don’t see signs of violence.”

Netanyahu’s plane took off just after 1:30 A.M. so that he could participate in the the UN General Assembly session. After he lands, Netanyahu is expected to engage in a marathon of meetings with heads of state that are current members of the Security Council in a bid to convince them not to vote in favor of recognition of a Palestinian state.