Gantz: Netanyahu Is Lashing Out Because He Knows He'll Lose

Kahol Lavan co-chair on Gaza escalation: 'If there's no deterrence, we must apply more force'

Benny Gantz speaking in Tel Aviv, Israel, March 27, 2019.
Sraya Diamant

Benny Gantz, co-chairman of Kahol Lavan, accused on Wednesday his main rival in the April 9 election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of having become a "factory for slander because he knows he is going to lose."

Speaking in Tel Aviv, the former army chief also commented on this week's escalation in Gaza, saying that "deterrence is achieved through weighed, powerful and continuous application of force. If there is no deterrence, then we must apply more force."

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With regard to Israel's policy of targeted killings, Gantz said, "Every target is an appropriate target. Senior officials and commanders everywhere are potential targets, and we should destroy them and not allow them to make hand gestures."

Gantz was referring to a photograph published on Wednesday showing Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh flashing the V sign at the site of his demolished office, destroyed Monday evening in an Israeli airstrike.

Regarding the case known as the submarines affair, Gantz said he will not forgive Netanyahu for "endangering the country's security."

According to Gantz, "There is no way for a prime minister to approve the selling of submarines to Egypt – a lethal weapon – without approval from the defense minister, the IDF, and the army chief."

"There is no secret," Gantz continued before addressing Netanyahu: "You made it all up because you felt pressured. What secret could it be, that you can reveal it to Egypt and Germany but not to your own defense minister and army chief? The only reason you made it up is because you have no other explanation for how you got 16 million shekels [$4 million] from a company related to the submarines."  

On Sunday, Netanyahu's Likud party launched a new campaign, aiming to brand Gantz as mentally unstable and therefore unfit to serve in office. Party officials decided on the move after a leaked recording of Gantz, arguing Netanyahu would like him dead, was aired on Channel 13 News. Likud now seeks to paint Gantz as "insane, a cuckoo, mentally unstable," according to a party source.