Israel’s Gantz Cannot Support Annexation of Areas Where Palestinians Live
Benny Gantz, head of Israel’s centrist Blue and White party, says he cannot support the annexation of areas in the West Bank that include Palestinian residents. He made the comment on Thursday in a closed forum, his words being reported by Channel 2 news. Gantz holds the title “alternate prime minister” in the unity government now led by Binyamin Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party. Netanyahu has said he wants to annex all Jewish communities in the West Bank, as well as the Jordan Valley, a border area considered vital to Israel’s security but which includes a number of Palestinian villages. One of the terms of the political agreement that led to Israel’s unity coalition was that any lack of support for government-sponsored legislation by Gantz or his party would lead to new elections. Gantz has also said he would support annexation only if it is done in coordination with Jordan and Egypt, the two Arab countries at peace with Israel. His remarks have led to loud protests by Netanyahu and key members of the Likud.