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Gantz: West Bank is ‘second best place’ to be Arab in Middle East – behind Israel

Former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz (C) delivers his first electoral speech in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019. [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]
Benny Gantz, former Israeli military chief of staff and presidential candidate in Tel Aviv on 29 January 2019 [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli opposition politician Benny Gantz declared yesterday that the occupied West Bank is the “second best place” to be an Arab in the Middle East behind Israel, reported Haaretz. 

Speaking at an English-language event in Tel Aviv “attended by several hundred immigrants and visitors”, the former military chief and Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) list leader said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erred in barring US politicians Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering.

According to Gantz, the two congresswomen would then be “seeing with their own eyes” that “the best place to be an Arab in the Middle East is in Israel…and the second best place to be an Arab in the Middle East is the West Bank”.

The leading rival to replace Netanyahu as premier also denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, telling the audience that “everybody who cooperates with BDS is operating against the state of Israel”, and adding that BDS constitutes “a form of anti-Semitism”.

READ: Gantz vows Israel will keep West Bank settlement ‘blocs’ and Jordan Valley

Addressing reports of internal tensions within the Blue and White alliance – an amalgamation of three different parties – Gantz reiterated his commitment to respecting the rotation agreement for prime minister with Blue and White’s number two, and Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid.

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Implicitly acknowledging disagreements with colleagues, Gantz argue that Blue and White is in a better place than Likud, in which “Netanyahu has a totalitarian regime in his own party”.

Gantz told attendees that his goal is to “form a government of the majority that serves everybody, instead of a government of minorities that take care of one man.”

Ideally, he added, his coalition would include Blue and White, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud, and “maybe Labor”.

READ: Netanyahu weak on Gaza says Israel’s Gantz

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