Nabil Abu Rudeineh
Nabil Abu RudeinehReuters

The Palestinian Authority expressed optimism over comments made by Israel Resilience Chairman Benny Gantz which seemed to indicate Gantz’s openness to future evictions of Jews in Judea and Samaria.

Speaking with Yediot Aharonot in an interview published Wednesday morning, Gantz, whom polls point to as Netanyahu’s main competitor for the premiership in the April 2019 elections, appeared to defend the Gaza Disengagement, emphasizing that he doesn’t want Israel “to rule over anyone else. We need to find a way for us not to be governing other people.”

“The [Gaza] Disengagement was carried out based on the State of Israel’s policy concerns,” Gantz said. “All the sides involved got high scores for the ability to not tear the country apart when [the Disengagement] was carried out.”

“It was a legal undertaking, which was adopted by the Israeli government and carried out by the IDF and the settlers in a way that was painful, but also good.

“We need to take the lessons [we learned there] and apply them elsewhere,” he added.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, PA Chairman Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh addressed Gantz’s remarks, saying, “It’s encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion.”

However, New Right Chairman Naftali Bennett pushed back against the PA response, claiming that “Palestinian celebrations” were “premature.”

“The Israeli public will not again support someone who proposes evacuating Jews from their homes, even if he does so humanely and with sensitivity,” Bennett said.

“After the elections, when the ‘Deal of the Century’ for the establishment of a Palestinian state comes, only one thing will be the deciding factor: Will this be a ‘BibiGantz’ government or a ‘BibiBennett’ government?

“Only a strong New Right will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state,” he concluded.