Gantz: I Will Bring Trump's Plan for Approval in Knesset Next Week

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Gantz speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, January 29, 2020
Gantz speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv, January 29, 2020Credit: Moti Milrod
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rival, said Wednesday that he will bring U.S. President Donald Trump's Mideast peace plan for the Knesset's approval next week.

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On Tuesday, Trump unveiled his “deal of the century,” a proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement that he called his “vision” for a two-state solution. According to Trump, the framework is a “win-win” for both Israel and the Palestinians.

"The peace plan faithfully reflects the basic principles written in Kahol Lavan's platform," Gantz said, adding that "this is a historic opportunity to shape Israel's borders and future."

Netanyahu's Likud party commented in response saying "Hitchhiker Gantz is trying to apprehend the tremendous achievements that Prime Minister Netanyahu has brought after three years of strenuous work with the Trump administration. A joke."

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Speaking at a conference of the Institute of National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Gantz called the plan "the second significant historical event that took place this week."

He noted that in order to implement Trump's plan "an honest, reliable and available prime minister is needed to lead the state. This is a historic opportunity for shaping Israel's borders, and to come to a solution to the conflict instead of managing the conflict."

"As prime minister," said Gantz, "I will work to implement the plan in all its steps. Responsible Palestinian leadership should accept the principles of the plan. I urge the Palestinian leadership: Since the Hebron agreement, you have become uncooperative. Say yes for once, and give your children hope for a better future."

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein ensured Wednesday that the Knesset would not hinder applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Edelstein promised to expedite the process, saying he will "move the application of sovereignty in the Knesset on a fast track. The question of whether we are witnessing a historic moment that will change reality, or a plan that will remain a colorful booklet - is only our decision."

Edelstein promised to convene the plenum immediately. "I'm telling the Prime Minister here: If you come back from Washington, and ask to convene the Knesset's plenum to exploit the historic readiness of the U.S. administration and apply Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria - I will enter the plenum immediately. No matter the criticism, or serious attacks, the right thing will be done."

Edelstein also emphasized that he did not believe that the Palestinians would meet the conditions they needed for the establishment of a state - but regardless, he strongly opposed the establishment of a Palestinian state, the partition of Jerusalem and the freezing of its building.

The Israeli army announced Wednesday it would bolster its forces in the West Bank and the Gaza division amid fears of violence following the unveiling of Trump's peace plan. Several patrol troops have already been sent to the West Bank, after a Home Front Battalion was sent for reinforcements in the Palestinian villages east of Nablus on Tuesday.

MK Amir Peretz, chairman of Labor-Gesher-Meretz, said this evening that his party would oppose any decision "that smells of racism or transfer [of Arabs]". At the launch of the left wing alliance's campaign, Peretz said: "If there is something that we, as a Jewish state, should fight against, it is rights that are determined by religious origin ... I appeal to my friends in the Arab sector - Muslims, Christians, Circassians, Bedouins, Druze - I announce that we will strongly oppose any such decision."

Gantz met with Trump at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the plan. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes, and Gantz said it was "excellent."

Following the meeting, the former army chief of staff said that Trump's plan "is a significant and historic milestone, indeed." Adding that "Immediately after the election I will work toward implementing it from within a stable functioning Israeli government."

Gantz also noted the importance of dialogue with the Palestinians and with the King of Jordan.

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