Gantz: Smotrich wants another Nakba, won’t talk to Netanyahu unless overhaul halted

National Union party leader Benny Gantz says far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich and others in the government are cheering on the chaos in the West Bank, predicting that it will lead to ruin.

“Smotrich wants another Nakba,” he tells Army Radio, referring to the Palestinian term for their mass displacement during Israel’s War of Independence. “To him, an escalation [in violence] is a good thing.”

The former defense minister says he is “disturbed” by the support settlers who rampaged through the Palestinian town of Huwara have received, describing those responsible as a “militia with backing from some coalition figures.”

“This is a very dangerous slope, one that cannot be allowed to stand,” he tells Radio 103 in a separate interview. “You don’t do things like this. We only have one army. Setting the ground on fire doesn’t seem to me the safest way to go.”

On the judicial overhaul, he warns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “when you cause a rift in the nation on a matter seen as essential, there are consequences.”

Gantz also denies a claim that Netanyahu apparatchik Natan Eshel is in talks with him and Lapid to form an alternate unity government.

“It’s nothing but spin. Just all malarkey. Netanyahu needs to stop the legislative process, [then] we can meet,” he tells Radio 103.

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