Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top rival, said on Wednesday he would bring the newly-unveiled Trump peace plan to the Knesset for a vote.
If it passed, the motion would be an endorsement of the initiative, not a binding law.
The Israeli news site Walla speculated that the move might be a political gambit by the centrist Gantz, as the Netanyahu-led, right-wing bloc in the Knesset could split between the more liberal right, which is prepared to accept the plan, and the more extreme religious right, which has already expressed objections to some elements of the proposal, such as recognition of a Palestinian state and a settlement freeze.
Outlining his own view of the path Israel should take in regard to the plan, Gantz said, “Our goal is simple: We want Israel as a secure, Jewish and democratic state. Safe separation from the Palestinians is the goal we should strive for.”
“Responsible Palestinian leadership should accept the principles of the plan and enter into an immediate discussion of them,” he added.
Speaking to Palestinian leaders, he said, “Once you say yes, you give your child hope for a better future.”
According to the Israeli news site Mako, Gantz also warned against any unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank, which has been much discussed since the plan was published.
“The peace plan requires broad-based combined security and diplomatic action,” Gantz said. “Reckless and irresponsible steps that do not align with Jordan or the moderate Arab states endanger our ability to implement it. Partial steps taken without preparation will not make any difference on the ground.”
“Unfortunately, instead of worrying about the citizenry, Netanyahu is worried about himself and is seeking a political dividend,” he added.
“We will not play this game on the backs of our citizens,” Gantz vowed.
Netanyahu’s Likud party mocked Gantz’s proposal for a Knesset vote, saying, “Gantz the hitchhiker wants to catch a ride on the extraordinary achievements Prime Minister Netanyahu has gained after three years of strenuous work with the Trump administration.”
The Algemeiner (c) 2019 . Benjamin Kerstein