- Editorial.Israel: a unity government to overcome the institutional blockade
- Middle East: Israel's elections point to a unity government
With the unknown if the defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the elections of Israel last Tuesday will result in his replacement by the centrist leader Benny Gantz , the president of Israel Reuven Rivlin has begun on Sunday the consultation with the nine lists chosen for decide who is responsible for the formation of the new Government.
Thanks to the historical support of the Arab bloc, the candidate who has more seats in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) to receive the difficult task is not called Netanyahu for the first time in the last 10 years. Of course, there is no variation in the name: Benjamin Benny Gantz.
The recommendation of the Arab Joint List (13) gives Gantz the support of 57 of the 120 deputies of the Knesset. After achieving 33 seats in front of the Blue and White centrist block beating the Likud (31) in the elections, the former Army chief already had
Guaranteed also the support of the two leftist parties, the Labor Party (6) and Meretz (5). However, Gantz does not have a majority to govern today. Netanyahu either.
The representatives of the Arab minority in Israel (21%) have taken this Sunday a decision of great political, social and symbolic importance that confirms the growing demand of their collective to influence state decisions. It is the first time since the time of Isaac Rabin in the 90s in which the Arab parties accept to be an active part to define the identity of the Prime Minister of Israel. It should be remembered that Gantz, although he has center-left positions, led the army in two military operations against the Palestinian militias in Gaza (2012 and 2014).
But the decision of the Arab Joint List announced at its meeting with Rivlin is not intended to help the man who entered Israeli politics a few months ago but to prevent the veteran conservative leader from remaining prime minister.
The leader of the Arab block formed by 4 parties (Jadash, Raam, Taal and Balad), Ayman Odeh told Rivlin that the majority of Israelis * oppose the continuation of the current government and announced: "We normally do not recommend anyone and for that what we do today has a historical dimension. We want to end the Benjamin Netanyahu era. Therefore, we recommend Benny Gantz to form the next Government. " According to Odeh, "Netanyahu incites against the Arabs in Israel and has made us a non-legitimate sector."
Subsequently, however, Balad announced his opposition to Gantz, which raises questions about whether Odeh's position should be counted as a block, the members of Balad should discount.
Prior to the announcement, Odeh had asked Gantz for a commitment to nullify the law of the Jewish nation-state or the law that toughens sanctions against the illegal construction of housing or the promise of a greater police fight to stop violence in the Arab sector. Since January 2019, 64 people have been killed in family crimes and internal organized crime.
Netanyahu, who leads a block of 55 deputies (Likud, two ultra-Orthodox parties and the Yamina nationalist right-wing party), soon reacted: "What we had warned has happened. We have two options. A minority government supported by those who they reject Israel as a Jewish or democratic state and praise terrorists who kill our soldiers and citizens or a broad national government, I will do my best to make it a broad national government.
In Blue and White, a heterogeneous bloc with deputies from the left, right and center united by their opposition to Netanyahu, they pointed out during the election campaign that it was Netanyahu who collaborated with the Arab deputies to achieve the dissolution of the Knesset after the elections of the past April 9 and its failure to form Government.
The leader of Israel Beitenu, Avigdor Lieberman (eight seats) has not recommended anyone thus enhancing their hinge paper. Demanding a Government of secular unity, Lieberman does not like Gantz to be supported by Arab deputies and refuses to be with them the Government with them and at the same time denounces that Netanyahu relies on the two ultra-Orthodox parties and the religious nationalist party.
Unity government or elections?
Rivlin believes that the government between Blue and White and Likud seems the only way to avoid a third election. But while Netanyahu demands that the unity coalition also include the right-wing bloc that has been leading since 2015, Gantz argues that it must be "liberal" leaving out some Netanyahu partners. Although the main obstacle to the alliance between the two most voted parties is Netanyahu himself. The left center demands that the pact with the Likud leave him out because of his open causes for alleged corruption.
Hence the political clock will collide with an equally decisive clock: the one that starts on October 2 when Netanyahu's lawyers appear at the hearing before the attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit. If the Likud leader ends up going to trial, he would have enormous difficulties in remaining prime minister even if the law allows it.
In recent days, several media have speculated on the possibility that Netanyahu will reach an agreement with the Prosecutor's Office for which he will not go to trial in exchange for giving up his political career. Netanyahu denies it in the same way that the leaders of Likud refuse to hand over their head to guarantee the executive with Gantz.
Who will be the first to try to form a government? The answer is not clear because beyond the decision of President Rivlin Netanyahu and Gantz doubt what suits them best. The widespread belief is that the second to try will have more options since the pressure will be greater if the nightmare that nobody wants is closer: third elections in less than a year.
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