Netanyahu rival speaks of possible West Bank pullback

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 11, 2019

Gantz responded that "it was a legal action; it was approved by the government of Israel and carried out by the IDF and the settlers, with great pain but done very well".

"We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people", the former chief of general staff of the Israel Defense Forces said in an interview with the newspaper.

"(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places", he said. The comments are being construed as evidence of a willingness on Gantz's part to uproot Jewish communities from the West Bank in the event of a future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Most world powers consider Israeli settlements on land captured in a 1967 war to be illegal under the Geneva conventions.

Successive peace plans proposed by Israel in the past provided for a partial withdrawal from the West Bank and the maintenance of major settlement blocs in return for offering the Palestinians territory in the Negev desert between Gaza and the southern West Bank.

He pledged to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights and east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said that he was "very, very" pleased with the results of his party's primary on Tuesday, though bitter rival Gideon Sa'ar finished high on the party list despite Netanyahu's call on Likud members not to vote for Sa'ar. Netanyahu remains Likud chairman and is slated to fill the top position of the Likud list for the April 9th Knesset election.

"It's encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion", Abu Rudeineh told Reuters.

"We don't know him yet, we heard about him". Mr Netanyahu's Likud Party warned that Mr Gantz would form a "leftist" government backed by Arab parties, while the hard-line nationalist "New Right" party claimed that Mr Gantz is planning on "expelling" more Jews from their homes.

Gantz responded to the statements by noting that the Gaza Disengagement had been conducted by the Likud Party, under the leadership of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favours the partial annexation of the West Bank.

Gantz' Resilience party said "no unilateral decision will be made on settlement evacuation" and that he would "maintain. non-negotiable security protections".

"The prime minister uses the soldiers as figures in his electoral campaign", Labour said.

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