Zionist Camp’s Gabay: PA State Must Be ‘Demilitarized’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Avi Gabay. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

In a hawkish speech, Zionist Camp chairperson Avi Gabay called for the establishment of a “demilitarized” Palestinian state as part of a final-status settlement with Israel. “My parents left a country that had a majority of Muslims, in order to be part of a country that has a majority of Jews,” Gabay said in an address before the national convention of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Sunday night. “I intend to honor their wishes, and to fulfill their dreams: A strong, secure and democratic Israel” alongside a bifurcated Palestinian state, which would not have a contiguous land mass, as it would be broken up by Israeli settlement blocs. Israel would also retain control of the Jordan Valley under his plan, Gabay said.

But in order for even that to happen, the Palestinian Authority must halt its incitement against Israel, he said. “The Palestinian Authority must immediately halt all financial support of those who carry out terror attacks,” Gabay said. “On our side, we must stop building outside the settlement blocs. We must stop building caravans on hilltops,” and stop supporting “isolated settlements, because they have no security value for Israel.”

Even at a time of peace, Israel must remain the strongest power in the Middle East, Gabay said. A central and essential factor in Israel’s security is its alliance with the United States, “an alliance that is of course driven by our common values.” That alliance is “a strategic asset in the security of Israel. Your work now is more essential than ever before,” he told the AIPAC activists.

Gabay has in recent weeks been attempting to reposition Zionist Camp as a centrist, if not right-of-center party, but polls show that his efforts have not yet paid off. The latest poll, taken on behalf of Channel Ten, shows his party getting just 12 seats if elections were held now. The Likud, by contrast, continues to maintain its lead, and would get 29 seats. Yesh Atid would come in second with 24 seats, while Jewish Home would be the fourth largest party that could be part of a coalition, with 10 seats.