Blue and White Tries to Recover From MK’s Disengagement Gaffe

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Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz (Reuters/Amir Cohen/File)

Blue and White officials hurried on Tuesday to “clarify” remarks made by MK Yael German Monday that the party was certainly not in favor of annexing the Jordan Valley – and in fact supported a Gush Katif-style disengagement from it and much of the rest of Yehudah and Shomron, with the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews from their homes. Party sources quoted in Yisrael Hayom Tuesday said that German had intended to say that Israel would “separate from the Palestinians” – not withdraw from territory and hand it over to the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking to Army Radio Monday, German, discussing a perceived shift to the right by Blue and White in order to appeal to Religious Zionist voters, commented on recent reports that the party favored annexation of the Jordan Valley. Actually the opposite was true, German said. “We are not talking about annexation, I don’t know where that came from. In fact we are talking about an arrangement based on a disengagement from the Jordan Valley. This is clearly written in our party platform. People are apparently finding what they want in the platform.”

Blue and White number two Yair Lapid tried to soften the comments, saying that “Blue and White does not believe in unilateral actions. We learned that lesson in the 2005 disengagement.” German was not talking about that kind of “disengagement,” Lapid said, but one in which Israel would “separate” from Palestinians. He did not mention whether he expected Jews to be thrown out of their homes in areas where Israel was “separating” from.

The timing of German’s comments couldn’t be worse; party head Benny Gantz is set to visit the Jordan Valley Tuesday, where he will discuss the party’s plan to annex the area. Sources in the party told Yisrael Hayom that top party MKs were “very upset” with German for the comments, and that they were “totally unnecessary. We are happy that Gantz is scheduled to visit the Jordan Valley, where he will have an opportunity to discuss the matter,” the sources said.