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Gantz Tells Saudi Paper: Jerusalem is Big Enough for a Palestinian Capital

Courtesy AP

Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz said that the Palestinians deserved their own “entity” and could have a capital in Jerusalem.

In a rare interview with the Saudi newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat, Gantz said that the Palestinians “want and deserve an entity in which they can live independently,” according to reports of the interview in the Israeli press.

However, Gantz wouldn’t commit himself as to what kind of an “entity” he was talking about.

“A state or an empire, they can call it whatever they want. It is their right to feel independence and have a capital,” the former IDF Chief of Staff said.

“We want a Palestinian entity which has appropriate territorial contiguity, which makes it possible to live comfortably within it without obstacles or hindrances. What we insist on is security. We need strategic observation points for security,” Gantz said.

Gantz shocked some with his comments on Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem must remain united - but with a place within it for a Palestinian capital,” Gantz said.  When pressed to clarify what he meant, he said only that, “[Jerusalem] is a very spacious city, and full of holy sites for all.”

Gantz has supported President Trump’s peace plan but Gantz did not connect his comments to it. President Trump referred to Abu Dis, a small city on the outskirts of Jerusalem, in his peace plan as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

Former Jerusalem mayor and current Likud MK Nir Barkat reacted to the comments. “Jerusalem is the capital of only one nation, It is the capital of the eternal Jewish people,’ and it is “the capital of the State of Israel,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Barkat as saying.

The interview comes against the backdrop of the Abraham Accords, where Gulf States and other Muslim countries have been making peace with Israel since August. There is speculation that Saudi Arabia will join at some point, but its leaders say that Israel must first make peace with the Palestinians and establish a Palestinian state along the 1967 ceasefire lines.

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