- Israel’s Gantz Shifts Stance, Supports Early Publication of Trump Peace Plan
by stated at a Jan. 8 press conference that he couldn’t even imagine that the Americans would disseminate President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” prior to Israel’s elections. And, Gantz added, should that actually happen, it would constitute harsh interference in the electoral process in Israel. But Gantz made an elegant about-face Jan. 21. He loudly announced, “I hope the president will move up [the rollout] and I expect the plan will be released very soon. Several weeks have passed. A lot of dramatic things are happening in the Middle East, and I look forward to the publication of the plan.”Only a little more than a week ago, Benny Gantz
According to Al-Monitor’s check, Gantz did not change his stance so drastically because of American pressure. Instead, he had received reliable intelligence information from sources in the United States that President Trump is serious and is examining the option of publicizing the program before elections. Gantz was told by a source knowledgeable of the inner workings of the US administration that “Netanyahu is pressuring the president to publicize the program in the coming weeks,” according to a Blue and White source. “It is not yet clear whether Trump will be able to resist this pressure. The chances are high that the plan will be publicized before elections.”
Gantz convened the leadership of the Blue and White, including the two former chiefs of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya’alon, plus Yair Lapid. Their chosen strategy is the direct opposite of their past strategy: Instead of clashing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government regarding the diplomatic plan, they will now align themselves with the plan and “go with the flow.” Thus, almost overnight, Gantz, who opposed publicizing the peace program, now calls for its publication at this time, without delay.
Blue and White seniors hope their decision will minimize the conflicts likely to break out after the plan is publicized. This way, they are hitching their wagons to that of President Trump, one of the most all-time popular US presidents in Israel. “This program will evidently be good for Israel,” another senior Blue and White official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “There’s no way that we can say no, it’s clear that Netanyahu will say yes. So we’ve beat him to it; we’re making it clear that we’re behind the president.”