Gantz Says He’ll Oppose Annexing Areas With Many Palestinian Residents

Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (Abir Sultan/Pool via Reuters/File Photo)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz told defense officials that he will not support annexation of Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron in areas “with many Palestinian residents,” Channel 12 news reported.

The Blue and White Party Chairman stressed that his party would bring all the moves to the professional echelons to get their positions.

Speaking during a series of meetings with security officials, Gantz said: “I am sure that the prime minister will not jeopardize the peace agreement with Jordan and the State of Israel’s strategic relationship with the U.S. with an irresponsible move.”

Gantz also addressed the need to work together with the Palestinians and introduce measures that will improve Palestinian lives as part of sovereignty processes.

Netanyahu and Gantz met in recent days in an attempt to reach an agreement on annexation.

Earlier Thursday, Communications Minister Yoaz Handel stated that he would support the application of sovereignty in Yehudah and Shomron “regardless of Gantz’s position.” At the same time, Welfare Minister Itzik Shmuli attacked the annexation programs on Radio Yerushalayim: “Anyone who has fostered expectations about annexation [it’s] his problem. It is political and security lawlessness to take such a step.”

About a week ago, Agriculture Minister Alon Schuster (Blue and White) also addressed the issue of applying sovereignty and said in an interview to Army Radio that if annexation would be an unilateral move, he would vote against it.