Gantz Tells Settlement Leaders to Take What They Can Get on Annexation

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with West Bank settlement leaders on Tuesday, advising them to take what they can get from U.S. President Donald Trump's "Middle East peace plan."

– Annexation vexation comes between Bibi and the settlers

LISTEN: Annexation vexation comes between Bibi and the settlersHaaretz

Sources present at the meeting said that Gantz repeated that it's important to the Americans that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu see eye-to-eye on the process of annexation. According to attendees, most of the meeting dealt with professional matters; only at the end did Gantz bring up annexation.

Prominent figures within the settler community have been vocal with their criticism of Trump's proposed plan, with Yesha Council of settlements chairman David Elhayani arguing that senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner and the president "have proven in their plan that they are not friends of the State of Israel."

Elhayani cited the freeze on settlement expansion and the leaving some 15 isolated settlements inside territories of a future Palestinian state, whose establishment he also opposes, as elements that bolster his position.

Those who attended said the meeting went well, and that Gantz recommended that regarding the Trump plan, they "Be like MAPAI members" and take what is given to you, a reference to Israel's first ruling party, who had to make concessions to the British to establish the state.

Gantz stressed Israel's partnership with the United States and the importance of conserving it, and noted that in making diplomatic decisions, "we must be aware of what is happening on the ground and all around us." He emphasized the importance of Israel's peace treaty with Jordan, which he said increases regional stability and defense.

The regional council head of Efrat, Oded Revivi, said in a statement that during the discussion, Gantz learned about the disparities that settlements face in welfare, education, transportation and other areas. "The bottom line is that it is impossible and wrong to keep relying on the Civil Administration alone, but to adopt a broader change," he said. To accept the Trump plan and apply Israeli law to the settlements, he said, would make their needs, and budget requests, fall under the purview of government offices.