Just two weeks ago, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz stated clearly that the unveiling of the much anticipated and much delayed Trump peace plan would be a “gross intervention” in Israel’s election.
His rationale then was understandable, given that the plan is likely to be extremely generous to Israel and its demands vis a vis the Palestinians; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be able to present the plan as a huge success for his adroit diplomatic skills and talents.
Yet on Tuesday, Gantz suddenly reversed his opposition to the presentation of Trump’s plan, saying that he hopes it is unveiled, and that he expects that it will happen.
What explains this U-turn?
The Jerusalem Post understands that the peace plan is indeed likely to be unveiled in short order, that Blue and White leaders have been told as much, and that they have been given details of the plan by US officials.
Given that there now appears to be no doubt that the plan will be presented, there is little purpose in Gantz continuing to oppose it, since he would look foolish and out of step with a Trump administration that has been so generous to the Jewish state politically and diplomatically, and which enjoys strong support from the large majority of Israelis.
Additionally, because it is likely that the plan will be advantageous toward Israel and will probably endorse the annexation of Israeli settlement blocs, Gantz and Blue and White would damage their right-wing credentials if they reject its publication or content.
The party and its leader are currently taking strongly to the right on issues regarding the future of the settlements and an arrangement with the Palestinians, in an effort to convince some right-wing voters to switch to Blue and White, and thereby end the political stalemate of the last two elections.
Criticizing the Trump plan in any way would damage this strategic goal. In addition, taking such a stance could well upset leading figures in the Trump administration, including the president himself, and being on the receiving end of a Trumpian tweet would spell electoral catastrophe for Gantz.
The Blue and White leader’s decision to fall in line with the new schedule is therefore a good indicator that we are likely to see in the near future, and before the March election, the long-awaited “Deal of the Century.”