Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister of Israel Benny Gantz told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday that Jerusalem has place for a Palestinian capital.
“Jerusalem must stay united, but it will have place for a Palestinian capital,” Gantz said.
He added, “It’s a vast city, filled with sites that are holy to all of us.”
Gantz said that peace can’t be achieved in the Middle East without settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict first, adding that ‘Israel’ will not withdraw to pre-1967 borders but the sides can reach a compromise.
Gantz also called on the Palestinian leadership to be part of the peace process and normalize ties with Israel’ like the Arab countries and “not stay in the back rows.”
“I am saying that I want them to be part of the peace process. This process with the Arab world is a great and real opportunity. And since I really want to reach a settlement with them, and I trust that without them there will be no complete and comprehensive peace, I invite them to cooperate with me and with the Arab countries so that they could have a respectable place in the new peace process.”
Asked if he was prepared for peace with the Palestinians, Gantz answered, “The Palestinians want and deserve an entity in which they can live independently.”
He continued, “It could be a state or an empire; they can call it as they wish. They have the right to feel independent and have a capital. We have to talk in a new, modern language about ways to solve [the conflict] and not stick to the traditional discourse. We, on our part, want to separate from them and we want guarantees for our security.”