Source: Daily Sabah
FRENCH PRESS AGENCY – AFP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism but were welcomed by the Palestinians.
Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.
The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way,” he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.
Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.
“We must find a way that does not require us to exercise control over other people,” he said.
The 59-year-old launched his campaign on Jan. 29 in a speech promising a conservative diplomatic and security policy.
He pledged to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Jerusalem.