Eisenkot: Settler agenda pushing Israel to one-state reality

Eisenkot's words put him at odds with Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar, former head of the New Hope Party, who is number two in Gantz's party.

 Party member Gadi Eizenkot at the launch of the National Unity party campaign for the upcoming elections in Tel Aviv, September 6, 2022.  (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Party member Gadi Eizenkot at the launch of the National Unity party campaign for the upcoming elections in Tel Aviv, September 6, 2022.
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

The settler agenda of building everywhere in the West Bank is pushing Israel toward a dangerous one-state reality, charged former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot, who is number three on Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party list.

“The people who are setting the agenda of settling everywhere [in the West Bank] are creating an irreversible reality,” Eisenkot told voters at a closed parlor meeting.

His words were leaked to Israel Hayom, which published the comments.

"The people who are setting the agenda of settling everywhere [in the West Bank] are creating an irreversible reality."

Gadi Eisenkot

Those who want to “repeal the [2005] Disengagement Law, those are people who are leading to disaster,” Eisenkot said as he referenced the regulation under which Israel withdrew from Gaza and destroyed four settlements in northern Samaria in the West Bank.

In my eyes, a binational state or the Palestinian vision of one state poses a significant danger,” Eisenkot said.

THEN-CHIEF OF staff Gadi Eisenkot speaks at a conference in 2018. (credit: FLASH90)THEN-CHIEF OF staff Gadi Eisenkot speaks at a conference in 2018. (credit: FLASH90)

He spoke in support of the evacuation of the small illegal modular yeshiva that has existed for more than 15 years at the site of the former Homesh settlement in northern Samaria that the IDF evacuated in 2005.

Eisenkot, who was chief-of-staff from 2015-2019, said he had evacuated the Homesh Yeshiva as many as 62 times during former Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister.

The mistake here, he said, has been the politicization of the issue.

Eisenkot’s words put him at odds with Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, the former head of the New Hope Party, who is number two on Gantz’s party list.

Sa’ar supports the legalization of the Homesh Yeshiva and is a strong advocate of the right of Jews to settle everywhere in Area C of the West Bank, in a region otherwise known to the Right as Judea and Samaria.

Eisenkot also attacked Itamar Ben-Gvir, saying the Otzma Yehudit Party leader was drawing on the support of young voters who were looking for black-and-white answers, particularly in the aftermath of the 2021 Gaza war, known as Guardians of the Walls.

The choice is between people of action who have worked for decades to ensure Israel’s security or those with the rhetorical ability to sit in front of the camera and garner votes from social media, Eisenkot said.

How have Israelis reacted to Eisenkot's comments?

Right-wing politicians immediately blasted Eisenkot for his views, accusing him of being left-wing, even though his views are far from the classically left-wing parties of Labor and Meretz.

In this election, however, the Left is any party to the Center and Left of the Likud, including the Centrist-Right National Unity party.

Religious Zionist Party spokesman MK Bezalel Smotrich stated, “If it walks like the Left and smells like the Left, then it is the Left.”

This is correct, he said, “even if Gantz and Eisenkot wrapped their left-wing beliefs in some right-wing and religious fig leaves to steal the hearts of right-wing people and transfer votes from the Right to the Left.”

The Religious Zionist Party later tweeted, “Eisenkot and Gantz will lead to a second Disengagement. We promise we will not let them harm the settlements.”

MK Yomtob Kalfon (Zionist Spirit) said, “The cat is out of the bag. Eisenkot and the National Unity Party oppose settlements in the West Bank and strive for the establishment of a Palestinian state. They are not the ‘secure Center,’ they are the deep Left.”

The Otzma Yehudit Party said, “Eisenkot has been exposed as a complete leftist. In his eyes, the settlements in the West Bank are a disaster. He believes in the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Incoming Yesha Council head and Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said, “The settlements are the fulfillment of the Zionist vision. It is sad that a former chief of staff and a senior member of the party that claims to lead Israel’s national camp calls the settlements in the homeland a disaster.

“Zionism started with settlements and will continue with settlements. These statements do not deter us. We will continue to develop and settle Judea, Samaria and all parts of our country,” Ne’eman added.