If voters stay home on Tuesday, the Blue and White Party will be forming Israel’s next government, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
“We’re going to lose unless people show up and vote for Likud. Likud has to be bigger than Gantz and Lapid and, right now, we’re smaller. All the polls show that,” Netanyahu told Israel National News in an interview.
“Who do you want to negotiate with [U.S. President Donald] Trump on the [upcoming U.S.-led peace] deal? Gantz and Lapid?” he added.
Regarding his announcement on Tuesday regarding the annexation of the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu said he had notified the White House prior to making the announcement, and that “someone in the White House” had said off the record that “Netanyahu’s plan does not impinge on Trump’s.” “That’s saying a lot,” said Netanyahu.
He expressed optimism with regard to the Trump administration, noting the difference between it and the Obama administration.
“For over eight years,” he said, “I blocked the attempt to push us into the ‘67 borders, to uproot settlements. Then, in the last three years, I’m changing the course of Jewish history by getting recognition for settlement, for the borders.”
He said he had “persuaded Trump to recognize Jerusalem as our capital, move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognize our sovereignty in the Golan, get out of the horrible Iran deal—that Gantz and Lapid supported—and now I’m doing the same thing [not only] vis a vis the Jordan Valley, but also all the settlements inside and outside the blocs. This is crucial.”
Regarding a possible upcoming meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Netanyahu expressed confidence that “Trump’s position will be different from his predecessor’s,” and added that the recent resignation of John Bolton as U.S. national security advisor did not signify a policy shift on the Islamic republic.
“Everyone said, ‘oh, it’s a reversal on Iran,’ and then half an hour later Trump imposed additional sanctions,” said Netanyahu.