Israel should not control Palestinians says Netanyahu rival

11 Février, 2019, 05:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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"We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people", the former chief of general staff of the Israel Defense Forces said in an interview with the newspaper.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's toughest election rival voiced openness on Wednesday to a future removal of settlements from the occupied West Bank, sparking debate over diplomacy with the Palestinians as a United States peace plan looms.

He pledged to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights and east Jerusalem.

All Israeli settlements are considered illegal under worldwide law but Israel draws a distinction between those it sanctions and those it does not.

Netanyahu said that he was "very, very" pleased with the results of his party's primary on Tuesday, though bitter rival Gideon Sa'ar finished high on the party list despite Netanyahu's call on Likud members not to vote for Sa'ar.

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The retired general, who wants to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April 9 elections, boasts of killing Palestinian militants and aligns himself with political hard-liners.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's spokesman welcomed Gantz's comments.

"It's encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion", Abu Rudeineh said. "The parties involved got very high grades for managing to prevent a rift in the nation as they carried it out", said Gantz, despite the ongoing resentment on the part of right-wingers, and a long and costly rehabilitation of the Jews who were evacuated.

"We don't know him yet, we heard about him". According to reports, Gantz is weighing the possibility of forming an alliance with Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, a bloc that surveys show could win up to 35 seats and therefore potentially have the first opportunity to form the next government. The right-wing party also accuses Gantz of attempting to create a left government with the participation of Israeli Arabs.

"No unilateral decision will be made on settlement evacuation", the party said in a statement, adding that Gantz would "maintain. non-negotiable security protections".

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

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