Lapid: PM tried to pull a political trick around 'Deal of the Century'

The Blue and White MK spoke about the head of the party's departure to the US in an interview with Army Radio, in which he attacked the prime minister.

Blue and White No.2 Yair Lapid (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Blue and White No.2 Yair Lapid
Blue and White MK Yair Lapid spoke about the party's leader, Benny Gantz, leaving for Washington, to meet with US President Donald Trump to discuss his "Deal of the Century" during an interview with Army Radio on Sunday morning.
Lapid attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arguing that he tried and failed to pull a political trick over Gantz's head: "The Americans know Israeli politics and understood that they need to speak with whoever is most likely to be the next prime minister. It seemed to me, and to anyone who heard of this, as though Netanyahu is trying to do a political trick, [but] it tricked him.
"The 'whole other league' story is over," he said. "The age of Netanyahu is over, because instead of dealing with important things, he is busy with tricks."
Lapid proceeded to argue that Blue and White is in on secret dealings in the past few months, including discussions with Trump's advisor, Jared Kushner. "What did you think that Gantz and I were speaking about with Kushner when he was in Israel?" he asked in the interview. "We spoke about the [peace] plan. A party that has three [former IDF] chiefs-of-staff has input on materials such as this."
When he was asked about details of the plan, Lapid said that, "the idea is to create a gradual process, though I do not want to announce the details. Of course the plan, in the end, will be facing the Palestinians. I am not responsible for the Palestinian side. What I care about is protecting the interests of Israel.
"The serious discussion about the plan needs to happen after elections," he said. "The plan is very good for Israel – anyone who is not an extreme leftist or rightist will understand that. If it had risked a single Israeli child, it would not be so. We do not live in empty space, so we will need to work with everyone.
"If we reach a point of implementing it, it is good for Israel," he said.
Lapid proceeded to address the argument about Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the conflicts within Blue and White on the subject. "Benny did not say the word annexation," Lapid explained. "We oppose any one-sided move. We learned from the disengagement: One-sided things don't work. Control of the Jordan Valley is a necessity; it is within Israel's security border."
"I did not feel any embarrassment," he continued. "Yael German spoke and in the heat of the interview said disengagement and then corrected it to annexation. Blue and White is the largest party in Israel, and as the party that deals with things seriously, it is a big tent of opinions. In the end, we chose to be in the same political tent and we signed the same agreement.
"There are other players here," he said. "There is a limit to how much the security interest of Israel can be toyed with. Unilateral annexation at this time is a cancellation of peace with Jordan which gives us strategic depth."
At the end of his remarks, Lapid was asked about the discussions in the Knesset committee formed to deal with Netanyahu's immunity request. He responded that the discussion will not be postponed due to Gantz's travels to the US capital, but Blue and White will allow the prime minister to offset his voice during his absence.
This article was translated from Maariv by Tamar Beeri.