Defense Minister Benny Gantz gave an interview to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat in December 2020, in which he referred in detail for the first time to his agenda on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stressed that he does not see peace in the Middle East without a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
Gantz also revealed for the first time his position on the future of Jerusalem and said: “Jerusalem should remain united, but there will be room for a Palestinian capital. It’s a very wide city and full of holy places for everyone.”
Spoken like a man without an awareness of his own holy places.
Blue & White Chairman, MK Eitan Ginzburg, responded at the time to Gantz’s statement about there being room in Jerusalem for a Palestinian capital, telling Reshet Bet radio on Friday: “I’m not familiar with that, I only know the Blue & White platform which says that Jerusalem will remain united as the capital of Israel. You should ask him about what he said.”
Gantz referred to the Palestinians’ desire for an independent state and said: “The Palestinians deserve an entity and I want them to take part in the peace process. I want to reach an agreement with them, and invite them to take part in the process. We, for our part, want to depart from the Palestinians and want guarantees for our security. If we reach agreements on the security issues – the political solution will come easily.”
When asked if he meant a state, Gantz said: “A state or an empire, let them call it what they want. It’s their right to feel their independence and to have a capital and there should be a solution to all the issues. We must speak in a new and contemporary language about solutions, and not stick to the traditional discourse.”
Gantz emphasized that Israel will not return to the 1967 borders, but there may be an exchange of territory with the Palestinians. “You know we opposed the annexation plan from the beginning, before the UAE demand was raised and before Netanyahu agreed to the settlements freeze. We opposed the legalization of outposts. We want to expand the Palestinian entity geographically, to allow it to live a comfortable life without obstacles.”
The part about opposing the legalization of outposts in Judea and Samaria is an outright lie. Three Blue & White senior members, Minister Omer Yankelevich, Minister Pnina Tamano-Shata, and MK Hila Shay Vazan, voted in favor of regulating the young settlements in Judea and Samaria.
“What we constantly ask for is security,” Gantz continued. “We need real strategic barriers for security. Of course, we can talk about land exchanges, although I don’t see how and where. We say that the 1967 borders will not return, but there’s always room for compromises.”
Combine the above borderline-criminal statement about making part of Jerusalem a Palestinian capital with Gantz’s recruiting of his former deputy, Gadi Eisenkot, who might as well be part of Meretz when it comes to his views on a Palestinian State, and you’ll have to worry about two issues: 1. What are Gideon Sa’ar and Ze’ev Elkin doing there, and, 2. Is Yair Lapid the only remaining option for secular Israelis who don’t want Likud?
As Eitan Ginzburg put it, you should ask Gantz.