Gantz: I hope I can meet with Palestinians in the near future

There has not been a meeting between an Israeli defense minister and or prime minister in years. Talks between Israel and the PA broke down in 2014 and have never been revived.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announces that he will be supporting opposition leader Yair Lapid's Knesset dispersal bill, Tuesday, December 1st, 2020. (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announces that he will be supporting opposition leader Yair Lapid's Knesset dispersal bill, Tuesday, December 1st, 2020.
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) said he hoped to speak soon with Palestinians even though he did not believe that it was possible at this time to finalize a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority.
“I hope I can meet with the Palestinians in the near future,” said Gantz who is also the defense minister.
There has not been a meeting between an Israeli defense minister and or prime minister in years. Talks between Israel and the PA broke down in 2014 and have never been revived.
But Gantz hinted at the possibility of a meeting with the Palestinians when he spoke Thursday night at a special virtual Zoom gathering for Jews who live in Latin America to mark the eighth day of Hanukkah, which was sponsored by both the Jewish Agency and the Strategic Affairs Ministry.
It was important to advance normalization with the Palestinians, Gantz said, even if, “it is very hard at this stage to arrive at a final status agreement.”
Gantz clarified his position on a number of issues relating to the conflict, noting that he did “We will not withdraw to the pre-1967 lines.” With respect to Jerusalem he quoted from the Psalms, stating that Israel would not give up on the idea of “Jerusalem, a city that is knitted together.”
In the West Bank, he said, it is important to build only on state land and not to build settler homes on private Palestinian land.
In response to a question about the continued leadership of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Gantz said that there was not a replacement for him currently.
Gantz lauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership with respect to the ratification of two normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain as well as the declarations of three additional deals with Sudan, Morocco and Bhutan.
It is important to continue to work with Netanyahu to continue to advance these deals and to expand this circle to include normalization deals with other countries, such as Saudi Arabia.
It is also important to normalize ties with the PA, he said, noting that relations between the Palestinians and Israel had improved. Security ties between Israel and the PA have resumed and the PA has agreed to accept tax revenues Israel had collected on its behalf.
He spoke warmly about both US President Donald Trump and US President-elect Joe Biden, noting that US Israel ties were strong no matter what administration was in Washington.
Among the participants were Jewish Agency chairman Issac Herzog, along with Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevitch and Minister in the Defense Ministry Michael Biton, both from the Blue and White Party.