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Gantz rejects defense pact with US

Blue and White Party Chairman Benny Gantz said Monday, “Blue and White, headed by me, will not support an international agreement that will limit the State of Israel’s activities and the Israel Defense Forces’ ability to defend it against the threats facing it.”

Responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the former IDF chief of staff explained, “I have deep appreciation for strategic relationships with the United States, our ally with whom we share identical values and common interests. But there is serious concern that a self-involved prime minister will allow the security forces to be shackled, contrary to the position expressed by the defense establishment over decades.”

US Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer revealed at a Jewish organization conference last week that current IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat support an initiative to establish a defense alliance between Israel and the United States.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump raised the possibility of such a pact in their phone conversation last night.

Netanyahu said Monday: “I spoke yesterday with President Trump – it was a very important conversation for Israel’s security. We spoke about Iran, but we also spoke at length about the historic opportunities which we have in the coming months. Among them is making the Jordan Valley Israel’s recognized eastern border, as well as a defense treaty with the US. These are things we could only have dreamed about before now, but now we have an opportunity to make them happen.”