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Netanyahu Threatens to Inform Trump about Gantz’s Stance on Annexation

Netanyahu Threatens to Inform Trump about Gantz’s Stance on Annexation

Friday, 3 April, 2020 - 10:15
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men push trolleys as they pass by billboards urging people to stay in their homes and keeping with government restrictions amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ashdod, Israel April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Tel Aviv - Nazir Magally

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz have made progress in negotiations on the distribution of portfolios in the new government, despite some differences.

There are also differences among right-wing parties on Israeli sovereignty on the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and annexing the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea region.

Sources said Netanyahu has warned he would inform US President Donald Trump that Gantz would break his promise to Washington to support the annexation.

“Trump's peace plan allows Israel to apply its law in the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, and settlements in the West Bank,” he told Gantz.

This plan can be implemented once the joint US-Israeli committee completes the detailed map of the territory that would be annexed, Netanyahu noted, stressing that it is not possible for the Israeli government to reject this proposal.

However, Gantz believes in wise political steps to boost Israel's status in the Middle East and the world, before any move on annexation.

He prefers to first try to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, who bitterly oppose Trump's plan, and launch negotiations with the Arab world to agree with them on any future annexation step.

Their differences came as Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s New Right party proposed to the parliament several draft-laws, including the annexation law.

A Likud source said Bennett is not satisfied with the cabinet portfolios his party would receive in the new government, so he is trying to trigger a crisis.

Yet, a source close to Bennett said the draft-laws aim at pressuring Netanyahu to stick to his decision on the annexations rather than yielding to Gantz, who has called for a government pledge to reject any unilateral Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories.

Gantz is aware that the right-wing can enforce Israeli law and approve the annexation because 58 of its lawmakers support the decision, along with three members of parliament loyal to Gantz.

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