Netanyahu's rival steps into illegal settlement minefield

  • Netanyahu's rival steps into illegal settlement minefield

Netanyahu's rival steps into illegal settlement minefield

"We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people", he said.

"One of the reasons for the decision not to switch to computerized voting is because of the fear of foreign influences", Meltzer said at the meeting. The comments are being construed as evidence of a willingness on Gantz's part to uproot Jewish communities from the West Bank in the event of a future peace deal with the Palestinians.

A West Bank settler group said in a report issued this week that the number of people living in Israeli Jewish settlements surged at a much faster rate than the overall Israeli population a year ago.

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli authorities. While Gantz has to date remained relatively mum on policy, his party is predicted to win up to 23 seats in the next parliament, trailing only Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud which is polling at around 30 mandates.

Netanyahu said that he was "very, very" pleased with the results of his party's primary on Tuesday, though bitter rival Gideon Sa'ar finished high on the party list despite Netanyahu's call on Likud members not to vote for Sa'ar.

"It's encouraging, if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion", Abu Rudeineh said.

"Statements about the fact that Abu Mazen gave his blessing to Gantz never happened and never existed", the PA statement said.

The Israeli candidate didn't mention the Palestinian people, but he said "we must take the lessons from the disengagement and implement them in other areas", applauding its execution that was conducted "in a painful way, but a good one". "As President Abbas keeps saying all that we need is an Israeli government who believes in peace".

Benny Gantz, a former Israeli army chief who advocates strengthening illegal settlement blocs and released a campaign video claiming credit for the deaths of 1,364 Palestinians in the 2014 Gaza war, is being viewed as a centrist alternative to Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party. Gantz will be heading a list that already includes a new party headed by another former military chief, Moshe Ya'alon.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favours the partial annexation of the West Bank.

However, Yesh Atid sources are now denying that Lapid would be drawn into a joint campaign, insisting that he represents the only alternative to replace Netanyahu as prime minister.