Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichFlash 90

Minister of Transportation Bezalel Smotrich (Yamina) said he believes the right should insist on promoting Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria - even if it means another round of elections.

Smotrich said: "We need to make it perfectly clear: Promoting immediate sovereignty is critical even if it means a fourth election. Addressing the coronavirus crisis is important and urgent, but the country's long-term strategic interests must not be given up for the immediate future."

"We have a limited time frame in this regard linked to [the American administration] that must not be passed up."

Smotrich made the statement in response to a news release by Channel 13's Barak Ravid, stating that Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz does not rule out annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria and is prepared to consider a limited form of annexation in areas west of the security fence.

According to Gantz's sources, there were several conditions for annexation that are related to when such an action will be taken, how much would be annexed, and how the process would be carried out. As for when, the short answer is not now.

According to sources, Gantz wanted a six-month period in which annexation was ruled out but was willing to settle for four months, while Netanyahu wants it to begin immediately or two months from now at the latest.

The report also said that Netanyahu preferred the annexation to begin from the east moving westward from the Jordan Valley and include all Jewish communities beyond the security fence.

Gantz is ready to consider annexation that begins from the west and progresses eastward starting with the settlement blocs slated to remain in Israel's hands in any future arrangement. He is reported to be willing to consider symbolic annexations in Gush Etzion or Ma'aleh Adumim.

Unlike Netanyahu, Gantz is very reluctant to annex the Jordan Valley - especially out of fear of destroying relations with Jordan and canceling the Oslo Peace Accords. He is also opposed to the annexation of isolated settlements.

According to the report, Gantz believes that annexation should be carried out in coordination with the international community, the Arab states, especially Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Sources said that Gantz opposes unilateral annexation and wants a move that will be part of a broader political agreement to include "measures on the ground" for the Palestinian Authority Arabs - for example in Area C - in exchange for annexation.

On Saturday night, Ronen Tzur, a senior adviser to Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz, reported on negotiations between Blue and White and Likud, and Gantz's negotiating achievements.

According to Tzur, the Foreign, Defense, and Justice ministries, staffed by right-wing ministers over the last term, will be handed over to Blue and White.