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Benny Gantz

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, on Wednesday welcomed remarks by former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz about his “openness to a future removal of settlements from the occupied West Bank,” Reuters reported.

In an exclusive interview to Yedioth Aharonoth on Wednesday, Gantz referred to the expulsion of some 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, saying, “It was a legal move that was adopted by the Israeli government and carried out by the IDF and the settlers in a painful but good way. We have to take those lessons and implement them in other places.” (Read also: He Talks! Gantz Urges Applying Gush Katif Expulsion Lessons ‘Elsewhere’)

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Gantz referred directly to the settlements in Judea and Samaria when he said, “We—and Bibi said this in his Bar-Han speech—are not looking for rule over anyone else. We need to find the way not to control other people.”

“It’s encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion,” Abu Rudeineh told Reuters.

Reacting to reports that the United States intends to announce its “Deal of the Century” peace plan in Warsaw next week, the spokesman said that “no peace plan will succeed in the absence of a Palestinian role and approval,” whether it were declared in Warsaw or anywhere else.

Habayit Hayehudi’s newly elected chairman, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, who lived in the settlement of Atzmona prior to the Gaza expulsions, called on Gantz to retract his remarks: “I was there, my house was destroyed and I was uprooted. The disengagement ripped the nation apart. The disengagement ripped me apart. Take it back – we must never have another disengagement.”

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