Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz directed the military on Monday to pick up the pace of preparations for the application of Israeli law to the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria.
“I instructed Chief of Staff [Lt. Gen. Aviv] Kochavi to accelerate the IDF’s preparations for the political measures under way in the Palestinian arena, and updated him on the progress in the political arena,” Gantz tweeted. To this end, he added, he will appoint a project coordinator and integrated team to deal with the operational aspects of Israel’s next moves in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White Party and who also serves as vice premier, briefed a gathering of his faction earlier in the day on the progress being made with U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan, which includes the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian Authority has denounced the plan as a “deal of disgrace.”
Calling the plan an opportunity to determine Israel’s permanent borders, Gantz told the members of his party that “striving for peace while maintaining security is foundational for every Israel citizen and for Blue and White in a concrete way.”
Gantz also said that he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are in regular touch with the administration in Washington about the ways in which to move the peace plan forward.
Following Gantz’s meeting with Kochavi, Netanyahu spoke with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, Israel’s Channel 13 reported. According to other Hebrew media sources, Netanyahu was asked to “greatly slow the process” of extending sovereignty in the West Bank, as Washington is currently dealing with countrywide riots taking place in the wake of the May 25 killing of African-American George Floyd by a policeman in Minnesota.
Netanyahu has said that he intends to begin the process as early as July 1.
The prime minister is set to meet on Tuesday with settler leaders to try to allay their objections to the plan—that it includes the establishment of a “terrorist” Palestinian state in the Israeli “heartland.”