Gantz: Disengagement ‘Could Be Model’ for Future Policy

YERUSHALAYIM -
Benny Gantz delivers his first political speech at the party campaign launch in Tel Aviv, last week. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

In the first interview in which he laid out his views on the future of Yehudah and Shomron, Benny Gantz has set off a firestorm on the right, with the Likud saying “we told you so” about Gantz’s leftist leanings.

In the interview with Yediot Acharonot, Gantz, whose Resilience Party has been polling well, said that Israel needed to figure out ways “where we are not ruling over other people.” The 2005 disengagement, which saw some 10,000 Jews thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif and northern Shomron, could be a model for Yehudah and Shomron. The disengagement “was perfectly legal and adopted by the government, and carried out by the IDF. For the residents of the affected areas it was painful, but it turned out for the good. We must learn the lessons and actualize them elsewhere.”

Reaction to the comments was sharp. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a social media post, “We told you – Gantz will form a leftist government, relying on Ahmed Tibi and his partners to push his plans through.” The New Right said in response that it was “grateful to Gantz for taking off his mask. Gantz is trying to out-left Avi Gabbay and Labor. He wants to evict Jews from their homes in Yehudah and Shomron on a unilateral disengagement. Gantz cannot be allowed to be Israel’s defense minister,” a post he is expected to be offered if Netanyahu forms the government and Gantz’s Resilience Party gets the second largest number of representatives in the Knesset. “As we have been saying to voters, the choice is between the New Right and the weak left.”

After the interview, the Resilience Party issued a statement saying that “the disengagement was directed and led by the Likud. Netanyahu voted for it, and his minister Miri Regev was in charge of public relations for it. A government led by Gantz will not take unilateral actions in evacuating settlements. The ‘lessons’ referred to in the interview related to the divisions among Israelis the disengagement caused, and emphasized the importance of the primacy of security in any future policy.”