Labor party chief Avi Gabbay on Tuesday offered unequivocal praise of the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, saying it was “the right thing to do,” and reiterating his party’s commitment to a two-state solution.
The comments drew immediate anger from Gabbay’s audience at a conference of the right-wing Besheva weekly newspaper in Jerusalem.
Speaking days after Israel Resilience head Benny Gantz drew ire from the right for appearing to applaud the Gaza pullout, Gabbay said that he supported the controversial move despite the territory having since fallen into the hands of the terror group Hamas.
“People forget that [before the disengagement] they fired rockets on Sderot from within Gaza,” Gabbay told participants, referring to an Israeli city near the Gaza border pummeled for years by crude Kassam rockets.
“Disengagement was the right thing to do. Our job is to separate from the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution with us responsible for security. This is our worldview,” he said.
Met with boos from some in the crowd, the Labor leader responded: “Get used to it, there are other opinions [than yours].”
In an interview published last week, his first since entering politics, Gantz appeared to praise the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and would not rule out a future evacuation of West Bank settlements located outside the major settlement blocs of Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion.
Israel has fought three wars with Hamas-led terrorists in Gaza since pulling civilians out of the Strip in 2005, including 2014’s Operation Cast Lead, which was led by Gantz.
Jerusalem placed a blockade on the Palestinian enclave after the Hamas terror group ousted the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2006.