Knesset Gears Up for Peace Plan Despite Reservations

YERUSHALAYIM -
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz at the Annual International Conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, in Tel Aviv, Wednesday. (Tomer Neuberg/FLASH90)

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, who endorsed the U.S. peace plan while in Washington, said Wednesday that he intends to bring it to a vote in the Knesset next week, the Times of Israel reported.

“This is a historic opportunity to draw Israel’s future borders,” Gantz during a speech at an Institute for National Security Studies conference.

“The peace plan is consistent with the fundamental principles outlined in the Blue and White’s platform. Next week, I will bring the entirety of President Trump’s peace plan, as unveiled yesterday, to the Knesset for approval.”

The move would parallel a vote on the peace plan in the Cabinet due next week as well, and it was not clear how the dual process would play out.

Gantz’s support for the Trump administration proposals was not shared by other leaders in Blue and White. Moshe Yaalon, head of the Telem faction, was reportedly troubled by the provisions for a Palestinian state and the unrealistic nature of the plan in general.

During a faction meeting on Tuesday, Yaalon rebuked more centrist Yesh Atid MKs: “Stop saying that it is possible to reach a peace agreement. It’s a dream. It’s a hallucination. The Palestinians have been peace rejecters for almost 100 years,” he said.

“The Trump plan is the closest thing to the platform of Blue and White. We cannot and must not speak about a state [for the Palestinians], but rather autonomy only,” he added, according to Channel 13.

Gantz’s own endorsement was not without qualifications. At the INSS gathering, he repeated his position that unilateralism, even with U.S. backing, must be avoided.

“Reckless and irresponsible steps that are not carried out in coordination with our allies in Egypt and Jordan jeopardize [Israel’s] ability to implement [the peace plan].”

Likud derided Gantz’s call for a Knesset vote, saying “the hitchhiker Gantz is trying to catch a lift on the tremendous accomplishments brought by the prime minister after three years of intensive work with the Trump administration. A joke,” a statement from the party’s spokesperson said.

Also on Wednesday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein promised Netanyahu his full cooperation.

“The question of whether we are witnessing a historic moment and changing a reality or a plan that will remain a colorful page booklet is only of our decision,” he said.

“I am saying to the prime minister here: If you come back from Washington, and ask to convene the Knesset plenum to exploit the historic readiness of the United States administration and to apply Israeli sovereignty to Yehudah and Shomron — I will enter the plenum immediately,” Edelstein said, according to Arutz Sheva.

“No matter what the criticism is, no matter if there are severe attacks, the right thing will be done. I am sure that in such a rare and one-off situation that we are in … we can, finally, vote in the Knesset on the application of sovereignty — and approve it in a large majority.”

Like Yaalon, however, he said he did not believe the Palestinians would ever accept the plan, and he, too, is opposed to a Palestinian state, the partition of Yerushalayim, and a four-year building freeze in Yehudah and Shomron, all provisions in the Trump plan.