Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Israel, Benny Gantz, during a has said that he would not support extending the Jewish state’s sovereignty to areas on the West Bank populated by “many Palestinian residents” in order to “avoid friction”, according to The Times of Israel.
The minister reportedly said he was “sure that the prime minister will not endanger the peace agreement with Jordan and Israel’s strategic relationship with the US in an irresponsible move”.
The Blue and White party leader took office as Defence Minister in mid-May, reportedly pledging that he would discuss with “professional ranks” in the nation’s defense plans regarding applying Israel’s sovereignty to the West Bank.
Gantz also pointed out the need to work with the Palestinians and take steps to improve their lives as part of the process of extending sovereignty.
The report comes as the deadline of July 1 set by Netanyahu nears, an electoral promise and a coalition government deal with Gantz, to start unilaterally applying Israeli sovereignty on one-third of the West Bank.
The lands in question were suggested to be allocated to the Jewish state in a so-called Deal of the Century suggested by US President Donald Trump and his principal senor advisor on the matter, son-in-law Jared Jushner. The “deal of the century” was rejected by the Palestinians.
Netanyahu and Gantz have reportedly met several times this week to discuss plans over the West Bank. On Wednesday, Netanyahu reportedly presented to Gantz in the presence of Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, four plans for extending sovereignty to the hotly-contested region.