Gantz: Releasing peace plan now would be an intervention in elections

The Blue and White leader then added that he is not telling the Americans what to do, as they are busy with other important matters.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid
Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz said on Wednesday that the publication of the long-awaited Trump peace-plan before the upcoming Israeli elections would be a “gross intervention” in those elections.
Speaking at a Blue and White faction meeting, Gantz was referring to heightened speculation that the peace plan that has been drawn up by Jared Kushner, former Special Representative Jason Greenblatt and others may be released ahead of the elections.
“I assume that on such an important issue the Americans will be careful and will not publish it [the peace plan] before the elections which would be a real and gross intervention in the election process of the State of Israel,” said Gantz.
Gantz confirmed that he has met recently with US Ambassador David Friedman and new US Special Representative Avi Berkowitz.
Berkowitz met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Monday to discuss the Trump administration’s peace plan with Friedman also in attendance at the meeting.
The visit has marked Berkowitz’s first trip to Israel since he formally succeeded Greenblatt in November.
On Tuesday, Berkowitz and Friedman met separately with Gantz in a meeting that lasted nearly two hours.
At the center of discussion was the Trump administration’s peace plan – and specifically, whether the administration should release it before Israel’s upcoming elections in March.
The US peace team originally planned to roll out the political part of the plan last summer but decided to wait until a new government in Israel was sworn in. Since then, Israel has been experiencing unprecedented political deadlock, and now faces a third round of elections.
The peace team is, therefore, facing a decision between two difficult choices. The first is releasing the plan despite the political stalemate in Israel, which could hurt the prospects of its success. This option is reportedly under serious consideration. The second is to wait until after Israel’s elections in March, which could result in a deadlock yet again. In that case, it might be too late to release the plan, so close to US presidential elections in November.
Omri Namhmias contributed to this report.