Communications minister will not back Gantz if he fights against annexation

“My stance was and remains in all my years supporting applying the law to Judea and Samaria or parts of it,” Israel’s communications minister said.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said on Thursday that he will back annexation even if Defense Minister Benny Gantz ends up opposing it.

“I respect Gantz’s stance, but it could be that we disagree on this,” Hendel told Army Radio.

“I will vote in favor of applying the law,” he said. “My stance was and remains in all my years supporting applying the law to Judea and Samaria or parts of it.”

Hendel also expressed the importance of annexing the Jordan valley.

“I think the Jordan Valley is very significant. I think settlement blocs should have been part of Israel long ago,” he said.

“We have to think about how to do it in the most pragmatic, serious way for the good of the country. We have to find the areas where we have a strategic interest [to apply sovereignty], like the Jordan Valley.”

In spite of Gantz’s public support of President Donald Trump’s peace plan, speculation has been growing regarding how far he is willing to go to support Netanyahu’s efforts to apply sovereignty over 132 settlements split between the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria.

Gantz reportedly wants it done with international coordination in order to prevent losing Israel’s alliances with Jordan and Egypt.

In a closed-door meeting with Likud officials on Tuesday, Netanyahu reportedly said the “main obstacle” preventing the plan from moving forward was the lack of support from  Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Under the coalition deal between Netanyahu and Gantz, the government can begin annexing, presumably with U.S support, starting July 1.