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Gantz: Palestinians must return to negotiations

Israeli Alternate Premier and Defense Minister Gantz declared that revival of peace talks with the Palestinians will be a priority by the next government in Jerusalem following the upcoming elections.

Gantz is currently partnered with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a national unity government as head of the centrist Blue and White party. He will be running against Netanyahu and his rightwing Likud faction in the 23 March balloting.

The Defense Minister made his remarks after completion of an inspection of the Judea and Samaria Division, along IDF Chief of Staff General Aviv Kochavi and other senior personnel, where he held a situational assessment and briefing with brigade commanders.

“Having served here myself for years…I know that this region has seen difficult days and paid the painful price of terrorism too. Facing terrorism, the IDF goes for contact, thwarting hundreds of terror attacks, while exhibiting its professionalism and upholding its moral standards of purity of arms and international law.  Israel is the strongest country in the Middle East and we will not be deterred by hypocritical and outrageous attempts to prevent us from protecting our people from any threat, whether in Judea and Samaria, in the Gaza Perimeter or any other place where hostile regimes attempt to harm Israel’s citizens,” said Lt. Gen. (res.) Gantz, who previously served as IDF Chief of Staff.

“The Palestinians also need to realize that to solve the conflict, we need to get back to negotiations,” he underscored.

Gantz’ statements come in the wake of a decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to investigate Palestinian allegations of alleged war-crimes by Israel.

“Courts aren’t the solution, even if they’re in the Hague,” advised the Israeli Defense Minister, adding that, “Alongside normalization – which can be helpful – and with a push from the new administration, there is a window of opportunity in which to make real progress with the Palestinians. That is a main task of the new government, so that the State of Israel can be a secure, democratic and Jewish country.”

Vowing that the defense establishment will continue to protect the nation “along all of its borders,” Minister Gantz concluded his remarks by saying Israel’s political leadership will work with the administration of US President Joe Biden “to pursue expansion of the Abraham Accords, make progress on an agreement with the Palestinians, and further our achievements – like recognition of the Golan Heights – going forward.”