During a visit to the southern city of Ashkelon on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed some of the details of his telephone call with US President Donald Trump the previous day.
Netanyahu described the exchange as “a very important conversation for the security of Israel.”
“We discussed Iran, but we also spoke at length about the historic opportunities that we will have in the coming months,” the Israeli leader added. “Among them — the Jordan Valley as the recognized eastern border of the State of Israel as well as a defensive alliance with the US. These are things that we could only dream about, but we have the possibility of implementing them.”
Netanyahu then called on Benny Gantz — head of the centrist Blue and White alliance – to join a unity government with his right-wing Likud party so Israel could “realize these historic opportunities” and avoid a third round of Knesset elections.
Later in the day, Gantz commented, “Our commitment to the Jordan Valley, as the security barrier along our eastern border, is not related to the seating arrangements around the government table, but rather for the security of the State of Israel.”
As for a potential security pact with the US, Gantz said his party “does not support any agreement that will limit operations undertaken by the State of Israel or the ability of the IDF to defend itself against the threats it faces.”
“I have a strong appreciation for our strategic relationship with the United States, our great ally with whom we share deeply rooted values and common interests,” Gantz noted. “But there arise serious concerns that a prime minister preoccupied by his own affairs may permit the limitation of our security forces’ freedom of action, in clear contradiction to the position held by our security mechanisms for decades.”