Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the results of the Likud primaries to the 21st Knesset and attacked former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, chairman of the Israel Resilience party.
"I am very pleased that the Likud members have chosen, in a precise and democratic way, a strong, impressive list that is good for Israel. They also voted for my proposal,” Netanyahu said.
"But the trouble is that Abu Mazen [Abbas] is also pleased, because Benny Gantz said today that he will carry out a second disengagement in Judea and Samaria and Abu Mazen wished him success in the elections.
''So we must go together, win these elections and prevent this. This is the real essence of the elections: A leftist government headed by Benny Gantz or a Likud government headed by me," the prime minister added.
Netanyahu’s statements come after a spokesman for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday said that comments made by Gantz seemingly defending the Gaza Disengagement and expressing an openness to future evictions of Jews in Judea and Samaria were “encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion.”
New Right Chairman Naftali Bennett later 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.