Netanyahu warns Gantz: Israeli sovereignty or new elections

Israel Hayom reported on Sunday that Gantz is foot-dragging on sovereignty.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brought down the hammer on Defense Minister Benny Gantz, telling him if he doesn’t support his push for sovereignty then he can expect a fourth election, according to Israel Hayom on Monday.

Gantz, who leads the Blue and White party, and competed as Netanyahu’s main opponent in the last election before joining as a coalition partner in the government, is also slated to become prime minister after 18 months.

According to Israel Hayom‘s political commentator Mati Tuchfeld, Netanyahu is surprised by Gantz’s resistence to his plan to extend sovereignty over areas of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Israel Hayom reported on Sunday that Gantz is foot-dragging on sovereignty. He has suggested a reduced sovereignty, much less than the 30 percent of the territory that Netanyahu has proposed, and which is permitted under the Trump administration’s plan. Gantz also wants a careful analysis of all the ramifications before proceeding.

Tuchfeld notes that Gantz, along with other leaders of the opposition, hid their positions on sovereignty during the election. They presented themselves as center, and not Left. Gantz even said during a Washington, D.C. visit that he supports the Trump plan.

Netanyahu doesn’t need Gantz’s support to push forward with sovereignty as he included a section in the unity government deal that prevents Gantz from intervening.

However, Netanyahu will need the entire right-wing bloc to support him and a problem has arisen from an unexpected corner. Aryeh Deri of the Shas party has announced that sovereignty should require the support of Gantz and his party.

Without the support of Deri, Netanyahu will not be able to move forward. Tuchfeld notes that Deri has not as yet made Gantz’s support a condition for his own.

The U.S. administration may also decide that Gantz’s support is a necessity. This week senior U.S. officials will meet to discuss whether to give the green light to the Israeli government to apply sovereignty. Though it had done so earlier in principle, the pressure building against the plan has led to the meeting and possible reassessment.