After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised Wednesday night that no Jewish towns in Yehudah and Shomron would be evacuated under any deal with the Palestinians, Blue and White rival Benny Gantz said Thursday that no Jewish resident of Yehudah and Shomron “will be evicted from their homes.”
Speaking to Reshet Bet, Gantz said that while Israel seeks a settlement with the Palestinians, “we will not be returning to the 1967 borders. We will not undertake any one-sided actions. I think that in any future settlement, everyone will be able to remain in their homes. The residents of Gush Etzion and Itamar will not have to leave their homes.”
Gantz pointed out that on the issue of a deal with the Palestinians, he and Netanyahu were on the same page. “Note what Netanyahu said Wednesday night,” Gantz said, describing comments the Prime Minister made at an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Shomron Regional Council. “Netanyahu said that whatever the deal, we are not throwing anyone out of their houses. In other words, he will seek out an agreement and ensure that everyone remains in their homes. If that is the deal, I am in favor.”
In his comments Wednesday night, Netanyahu said that “the fact is that the hills of Shomron enable us to defend the rest of the country, and this contributes to regional stability. If we did not have the Shomron, every location in Israel would be under clear and immediate danger of attack. This is our homeland and our land, and we will continue to develop and build it.” As far as he is concerned, there is no difference “between settlement blocs and ‘isolated’ settlements. These are all Israeli. These are our principles, and I am working on gaining international recognition of them.”
Gantz said that while he and Netanyahu agreed on many policy issues and that he was not opposed to a unity government with the Likud, he could not make a deal with Netanyahu for a rotation agreement that would allow him to remain in his office. “We cannot sit in the same government with a Prime Minister who has indictments against him outstanding. I want to make it clear to everyone – we will be the biggest party in the next election,” Gantz added.