Gantz endorses Trump plan, says will bring it to vote in Knesset

The Blue and White leader said that his party wants a “secure State of Israel,” which is “Jewish and democratic,” with “secure separation” from the Palestinians.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaks to the press after meeting President Donald Trump in Washington DC on January 27, 2020.  (photo credit: ALEXI ROSENFELD)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaks to the press after meeting President Donald Trump in Washington DC on January 27, 2020.
(photo credit: ALEXI ROSENFELD)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz lauded US President Donald Trump’s peace plan on Wednesday and said he would bring it for a vote in the Knesset next week.
He insisted, however, that “hasty” steps to try to implement parts of the plan, without regional support, could stymie any implementation of the plan at all.
Speaking at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Gantz gave his first response to the full unveiling of the Trump plan, and sought to retake the initiative from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who stood alongside the US president when he revealed the content of his plan.
His plan to introduce what would appear to be a declarative resolution in the Knesset approving the Trump plan would help him do so, since significant numbers of Likud MKs, as well as all right-wing, religious MKs, would not be able to vote in favor of the plan, because of its adoption of a Palestinian state.
“As an Israeli patriot I say that this program reflects the basic principles written in the Blue and White [electoral] platform, and constitutes the basis of a future agreement in the Middle East,” said Gantz.
The Blue and White leader said that his party wants a “secure State of Israel,” which is “Jewish and democratic,” with “secure separation” from the Palestinians.
“Therefore I will submit President Trump’s full plan as it was published yesterday to the Knesset for its approval,” he continued, and said if elected prime minister he would work to implement all of the plan’s stipulations.
The Blue and White leader insisted that Netanyahu is no longer in a position to implement the Trump proposals, because of his indictment on corruption charges.
Gantz sought, however, to impede the plans of Netanyahu and the right wing to immediately annex the territories in the West Bank allocated to Israel under the plan, saying that “hasty and irresponsible steps that are not coordinated with Jordan, Egypt and the moderate Arab states, endanger the ability to implement it [the Trump plan].”
He added that “partial steps done without preparatory work of the diplomatic-security system will not bring any change on the ground.”
Gantz even accused Netanyahu of endangering the potential gains available under the Trump plan with a rush to implementation, alleging that the prime minister is seeking political gain instead.
In response to Gantz’s comments, the Likud Party issued a statement accusing him of being “a hitchhiker trying to hitch a ride on the great achievements that Prime Minister Netanyahu has delivered after three years of strenuous work with the Trump administration.”

EARLIER ON Wednesday, the leaders of Israel’s left-wing parties gathered at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to denounce the Trump proposals, arguing that they would lead to a binational state which would destroy Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz declared that Netanyahu has no mandate to carry out the plan as head of an interim government, while Labor-Gesher leader Amir Peretz called on Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to oppose unilateral annexations before the upcoming election.
Both leaders expressed the concern that Israel would annex the land apportioned it by Trump’s plan, without following through on allowing a Palestinian state, also endorsed by the proposals, to be established.
Netanyahu has implied that he will seek to annex these territories before the upcoming election.
“Netanyahu does not have a mandate to carry out any plan, and certainly not annex substantial portions of the [West Bank] territories and the settlements,” said Horowitz.
“As the prime minister of an interim government who is being put on trial for severe criminal charges, he and his government have no legitimacy to annex even one dunam of land in a unilateral manner,” the Meretz leader continued, saying that only a new government “could deal” with the US plan.
“This is a plan that starts with annexation but will not continue to any understanding with the other side, continued Horowitz, adding that annexing territory immediately would mean “a peace plan with no peace at the end of it but will instead be an annexation plan that will turn Israel into a binational state.”
Peretz was similarly strident in his rejection of any steps to annex territories before the election.
“Someone who hurries to annex isolated settlements in Judea and Samaria wants to ensure that a peace process ends before it even begins,” said Peretz. “That is what Netanyahu wants to do.
“I call on [Blue and White leader] Benny Gantz to state that there will not be annexation without a comprehensive agreement; that there will not be unilateral steps but, rather, an effort to arrive at peace,” continued the Labor leader, who added that Blue and White should oppose any implementation of the Trump plan before the election, so that the center-left bloc can defeat Netanyahu.