Gantz denies reports of US pressure, says Israel making its own military decisions

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)
Minister Benny Gantz speaks to the media in Tel Aviv on October 26, 2023. (Carrie Keller-Lynn/Times of Israel)

War cabinet member Minister Benny Gantz says that Israel will ultimately make its own decisions regarding war plans, in light of several reports saying Israel has bowed to American pressure to delay its Gaza ground invasion.

“We are making decisions only based on our own interests,” Gantz says to reporters in Tel Aviv, while also saying Israel appreciates the support it’s received from its ally the United States.

“Only we will defend ourselves and every Jew,” he adds, saying that “the danger of being eliminated” is not Israel’s “but its enemies.”

“Tough times are expected for us,” adds Gantz of the war ahead, but he says that the war cabinet is functioning well.

Regarding his National Unity party’s decision to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government two weeks ago, Gantz says: “I say to you with full confidence that this was the right step for Israel and this step has already proved itself,” in security decisions and a message of internal unity, important both for domestic and enemy audiences.

“I am a soldier. I wasn’t playing politics when I joined the emergency government. Just as I knew when to enter, I will also know when to exit,” he says, adding, “I’m here until after the war.”

“We, as leadership, are aware of the difficulties” for civilians, in light of Hamas’s assault and the war that ensued.

“We will work on a new plan for the area” in order to ensure security for the communities the state plans to resurrect in the Gaza border area.

Gantz also says the government is working to return hostages, using every avenue possible.

He reassures Israelis of the strength of the military and the rightness of Israel’s cause. “We will not be the ones at risk of being wiped out. That will be the fate of those who seek to do us ill,” he says.

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