Lapid: Trump Invited Gantz Because He Will Win Election

YERUSHALAYIM -
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in the Knesset. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The reason President Donald Trump invited Blue and White head Benny Gantz to meet with him at the White House is because “the Americans understand Israeli politics, and they understand that they need to be speaking with the next prime minister,” said Yair Lapid, Blue and White number two.

As a result, the “trap” that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had sought to set for Gantz “has backfired. Netanyahu’s claim that he is in a ‘different league’ because of his relationship with Trump has now evaporated.”

Unlike the impression Netanyahu has tried to give, both he and Gantz are fully aware of all details of the plan, Lapid told Army Radio Sunday. “What do you think we were discussing when Jared Kushner was here? We discussed the plan. We are a party with three former IDF Chiefs of Staff, so naturally we would be advising about the security aspects of the plan,” Lapid said.

As details of the plan have not yet been publicly revealed, Lapid was asked about those details. “The idea is to create a gradual plan,” he said. “I don’t want to share too many details, but there is no question it will entail discussions with the Palestinians. I am not responsible for the Palestinians –  what concerns me are the interests of Israel. Serious discussion about what to do about the plan will have to wait until after the elections.”

With that, he said, “the plan is very good for Israel, and anyone who is not on the far left or the far right will understand that. If even one Israeli child were to be harmed by this plan I would have vetoed it from the outset. If we can actualize the plan it will be good for Israel.”

Israeli diplomats who have been involved in discussions regarding the plan say that Israel is not going to be required to make many more concessions than it has already made. Channel 12 said that the plan includes recognition of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, and gives the option for Israeli sovereignty on all the settlement blocs, at the very least.

The plan does not call for the establishment of a Palestinian state at this time, but reserves the option for one to be established in the future – if the Palestinians accept the conditions of the plan, which almost undoubtedly will include recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, something the Palestinian Authority has refused to do until now

Lapid said that in general, his party was against “unilateral declarations of sovereignty.” Regarding a speech Gantz made in the Jordan Valley last week, Lapid said that the Blue and White Party head “did not use the word ‘annexation.’ We oppose unilateral actions like that. We learned from the disengagement that unilateral actions don’t work out. We do need to control the Jordan Valley, as this is Israel’s eastern security border.”