Gantz: We won't wait forever for the Palestinians

Defense Minister hints he may support unilateral application of sovereignty if PA continues to say no to talks or peace.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Defense Minister Benny Gantz
Oded Karni/GPO

Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a briefing with journalists Tuesday in which he addressed many issued related to the security of the State of Israel and the IDF.

Addressing the overall security situation, Gantz said Judea and Samaria currently present the greatest challenges of any of the areas the security establishment has to deal with. The level of deterrence is high, but the threat level is also high, he said.

Turning to the potential application of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, Gantz said: "There are a number of principles I presented and which I will continue to promote. We won’t take Palestinians into our territory, we won’t harm human rights or freedom of movement, we’ll work in coordination with the countries of the region and will be in contact with them, and we won’t endanger the peace agreements."

In a possible signal that he could support the unilateral application of sovereignty, Gantz said: “We won’t continue to wait for the Palestinians. If they say ‘no’ forever to everything then we’ll be forced to move forward without them,”

Addressing Iran, Gantz said the Islamic Republic constitutes an ever-growing threat which can reach the State of Israel.

Turning to the defense budget, Gantz said: "I have authorized the multi-year program for the IDF and am acting ... to pass it in the Cabinet and the government. This multi-year program is more lethal in general. It combines all of the IDF's arms under one operation and is more offensive in nature."

"Alongside this, we face a very difficult economic reality. Before the coronavirus crisis we were in a high-risk group under the law, and the crisis has caused an even more difficult situation for us. In the broader context it is important to understand the issue of one-year budgets vs. two-year budgets. It's not really two years. It's only five quarters. The policy will need to be an expanding policy that constantly moves forward.

Gantz said that the IDF and the defense industry had the potential to be a 'wheel of growth' for Israel's economy and industries, and therefore was worth investing in.

Addressing the issue of mandatory IDF service, Gantz said that there are several steps which must be taken in the short term and the long term.

The first issue is the shortening of IDF service for various reasons. Gantz said he was working to close the 'hole' created by this phenomenon.

The second issue is haredi service. Gantz said that the government must immediately pass a recruitment law which would abide by Supreme Court rulings. "I'm going to take care of it, even with a temporary solution," he said.