Gantz, Ashkenazi knew about Israel-Bahrain deal

While Netanyahu is abroad, Gantz to fill in as prime minister

Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi meet with Mike Pompeo, August 24, 2020.  (photo credit: MATTY STERN / US EMBASSY JERUSALEM)
Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi meet with Mike Pompeo, August 24, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed both Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi of Blue and White about the agreement with Bahrain, sources close to both men said on Saturday night.
There was an uproar over Netanyahu’s decision to keep Gantz and Ashkenazi in the dark regarding his agreement with the United Arab Emirates. Netanyahu said he did not tell them, because the Americans had asked him not to tell anyone and he was afraid they would leak the agreement.
A source close to Ashkenazi said he was involved with the agreement with Bahrain and had known its details for a while.
“He has known for weeks that the deal was cooking and the prime minister informed him that the agreement had been completed,” a source close to Gantz said.
According to the coalition agreement between Likud and Blue and White, Gantz will serve as acting prime minister while Netanyahu is abroad. This is Netanyahu’s first trip abroad since the government was formed on May 17 and Gantz’s first time serving as acting prime minister.
President Reuven Rivlin praised the agreement with Bahrain, calling it a wonderful achievement. He called on additional Arab and Muslim countries to make peace with Israel, following the peace for peace model.
But Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz issued criticism, calling on Netanyahu to reveal all his agreements with Gulf states and bring them to the Knesset for approval.
“Israel is a democratic country and therefore the prime minister must behave transparently and receive Knesset approval for whatever agreements were reached behind the scenes,” Horowitz said. “Netanyahu’s lies about the US selling F-35 jets to the UAE were revealed. Now is the time to reach all the agreements and enable proper parliamentary oversight.”
Horowitz said that while the Bahrain deal was welcome, it did not negate the need for an agreement with the Palestinians. Joint List MK Sami Abu Shehadeh went further, issuing a statement mocking the deal.
“I welcome the deal that removes the Bahraini brigades from Tel Aviv,” Abu Shehadeh said. “Now all that is left is to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the suffering of millions of people.”