Former Israeli army general Benny Gantz, who is the main rival for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Tuesday March 19th, that he would seek peace with the Palestinians, but stopped short of endorsing their goal for statehood.
According to Reuters, Gantz said in an interview with Hadashot TV news that Israel has a moral obligation to "strive for peace." He added that he will talk to anyone in order to advance a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians.
However, when asked whether the ultimate goal would be that of a Palestinian state, Gantz, a centrist candidate, did not give a definitive answer although he did suggest that eventually Israel should separate from the Palestinians.
"At the end of the road there is a Jewish, democratic, safe and strong state with a solid Jewish majority and what happens on the other side would be an outcome of what happens at negotiations," Gantz said.
Palestinians want to establish a state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. The last round of peace talks between the sides broke down in 2014.
The United States is widely expected to unveil a new peace proposal after the April 9th Israeli election. The Trump administration has wavered over whether it would endorse a Palestinian state, saying the final outcome will be up to the sides to determine, but both sides will have to compromise.
The Palestinians for their part have boycotted the Trump administration since it announced it recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital and opened a new US embassy there last year. Washington has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians.