Israel’s Benny Gantz demands Palestinian Authority ‘give up illusions’

Benny Gantz, leader of Israel's Blue and White Party, says he will annex the Jordan Valley if elected as prime minister (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 27, 2020

Benny Gantz, the main challenger to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has demanded that the Palestinian Authority (PA) “give up” its “illusions”, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Speaking on i24News, the chair of Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) addressed a number of issues pertaining to the Palestinians and Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Asked about the Trump administration’s plan, Gantz was positive: “as a whole package, it makes sense”, he said, adding: “It sees the reality as it is…The Palestinians are here, we are here, let’s see how we can [live] together.”

Although Gantz stressed the importance of consulting with regional governments such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the opposition leader indicated that he would be willing to proceed with key decisions regardless of the Palestinians’ position.

“If down the road, the Palestinians will continue to refuse to move forward, then we will have to see whether we are willing to do it unilaterally or not,” Gantz said.

The PA “has to be a partner”, he continued.

I hope that they decide to give up dreams, illusions, we are not going anywhere. The right to return will never happen. We will never go back to ‘67 lines.

Turning to the situation in the south, Gantz said there was a need to “re-evaluate everything we are doing in Gaza”, including the option of a “militarily decisive campaign”.

Gantz declared that projectile fire from the Gaza Strip should be met with a “very harsh reaction”, adding: “We should practice zero tolerance.”

“The people of Gaza have the right to live normally, but they have to act normally,” he said.