Israel: Netanyahu Mandated To Form Union Government With Gantz

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin instructed outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening to form a unity government that had earlier received the blessing of parliament, sealing the end of the longest political crisis in history modern Israel.

The camps of Mr. Netanyahu and his ex-rival become partner Benny Gantz had already announced earlier for the 13 May take the oath of the future government, after having received guarantees on the legality of their alliance.

After stormy exchanges until late Wednesday evening, the union government agreement was validated Thursday by a vote which left little doubt, the camp of the Likud party (right) of Benjamin Netanyahu, and that of the centrist “Bleu-Blanc” formation of the ex-army chief Benny Gantz with a majority of seats in Parliament.

“The plenary session of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) approved the amendments at second and third reading (to the draft government of the union, editor's note). 71 MEPs voted in favor and 37 against, “said the services of the Parliament in a statement.

The Israeli presidency indicated at the end of the day that they had the signatures of 72 of the 120 deputies, or eleven more than the majority necessary, in favor of Benjamin Netanyahu officially obtaining the mandate to form the next government.


And President Rivlin instructed Mr. Netanyahu in the evening to form the government.

The agreement on a Netanyahu / Gantz government had obtained the green light on Wednesday evening from the Supreme Court, seized by various organizations questioning its legality.

The Supreme Court does not, however, clear the Prime Minister, who has been charged with corruption in a series of cases and whose trial is scheduled to start at the end of the month, after being postponed because of the pandemic.

“We have found no legal reason preventing the formation of a government by Prime Minister Netanyahu […] but this conclusion which we have reached does not diminish the gravity of the charges” against him, indicated the judges.

In addition to the sharing of power and the maintenance of Benjamin Netanyahu as Prime Minister for the 18 next month, the government will task of managing the deconfinement and the restarting of the Israeli economy. He will also have to pronounce in detail on the project to annex sections of the occupied West Bank.

After months of crisis, Benny Gantz had agreed to form a coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu despite his indictment, to allow Israel to weather the pandemic of new coronavirus which has now contaminated approximately 16 000 people in the country, including 239 died, and boosted unemployment from 3.4% to 27%.

M. Netanyahu has already announced the reopening of primary schools, still shy on the ground, and that of the majority of shops and businesses, which can now bring together 50% of their staff in one place. And thousands of Palestinian workers have been able to return to work on the Israeli side.


The agreement between MM. Netanyahu and Gantz also anticipate the announcement from July 1 of a plan to implement the controversial project proposed by US President Donald Trump for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Trump plan, which grants the Hebrew State a very large number of concessions, has been vehemently rejected on the Palestinian side, where the future Netanyahu / Gantz administration has already been baptized “annexation government”.

Because this project notably provides for the annexation by Israel of the Jordan Valley, a strategic land language, and of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by the Hebrew State.

The population of the colonies in the West Bank has jumped by 50% over the past decade under the leadership of Mr. Netanyahu in power without stopping since 2009. Today, more than 450 000 people live there, spread over a hundred colonies, where thousands of Palestinians work.

The Trump plan also proposes to make Jerusalem the “indivisible” capital of the “Jewish state” of Israel, while the Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state to which they aspire. .

Between July and the US presidential election in November, the Netanyahu / Gantz government will only have a “short” window of four months to implement the Trump plan, notes Israeli analyst Yohanan Plesner, saying s '' expect “very limited” or “marginal” measures, or even “no” decision in this sensitive matter.