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Gantz says Israel has ‘Moral obligation to strive for peace’

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said last night that he was “not ashamed to use the word peace” but refused to endorse a Palestinian state.

In a series of Israeli TV interviews Gantz said: “It is our moral obligation to strive for peace… We are not ashamed to use the word peace.. but there’s no one to talk to at the moment” on the Palestinian side. He added: “We support continuing to aim for peace and political agreements on which the ultimate condition will be security for the State of Israel and preventing Israel from becoming a binational state…and any option that allows us to advance these interests we will take.”

Gantz also ruled out forming a coalition with Arab parties. When asked by Channel 13 News anchorwomen Tamar Ish Shalom about the coalition he would form if he wins the elections, Gantz said: “I don’t intend to call anyone who is against the State of Israel.” He said Israeli Arabs are equal citizens but that: “The day when their leaders present a positive agenda will be the day we could consider them as partners.” The Likud Party had suggested Gantz would team up with Arab parties in a future coalition in an attempt to discredit the Blue White leader.

When asked by Tamar Ish Shalom which Benny Gantz should the public believe — the one who said that he wouldn’t sit in a government alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or the one who was recorded saying in a closed-door meeting that he was leaving that door open — Gantz said: “I said that in the situation that has been created I won’t be able to sit with Netanyahu, and in my view it [the situation] has only worsened since then. The only thing that might change the situation is that he will come away from the hearing differently. Regrettably, I don’t see that happening.”

Speaking about Blue White’s recent decline in the polls, Gantz said: “The election carousel goes up and down and those are natural. Forty seats and we win and replace the government, and I’m the head of the security cabinet alongside Bogie, Yair and Gabi Ashkenazi—and not Smotrich and Miri Regev.” Yesterday a Walla poll predicted the Likud would win 32 seats, Blue and White 29 seats, Joint List 9 seats, Labour 8 seats, Union of the Right 7 seats, New Right 6 seats, UTJ 6 seats, Meretz 6 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu 5 seats, Zehut 4 seats, Shas 4 seats and Kulanu 4 seats.