The two most prominent political parties in Israel today continued marathon negotiations to reach an agreement to form a coalition government before the Jewish Passover holiday, which lasts for a week, starting from Wednesday evening.
"Everybody feels anxious to reach an agreement as soon as possible, preferably before the Passover," said a senior official in the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party.
The official told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that the Blue and White party would only participate in a national emergency government with the right-wing Likud party headed by caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the Likud committed to "protecting democracy… and joining efforts" made to combat the coronavirus pandemic as efficiently and quickly as possible."
She emphasised that one of the issues being discussed relates to whether the Blue and White party will agree to Netanyahu's insistence on expanding Israeli sovereignty over areas that represent 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, which will become part of Israel under US President Donald Trump's controversial peace plan for the Middle East.
The official did not provide further details, but another source from Blue and White party told the Hebrew newspaper Maariv that "Netanyahu is seeking to annex the additional proportion of land immediately, acting as if he is forming a right-wing government."
Gantz justified his participation in the negotiations with Netanyahu, which contradicts what he had pledged in the run up to the election, that Israel is not ready to hold a fourth election, and needs an emergency government to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports indicated that Gantz agreed to a rotation with Netanyahu occupying the position of prime minister for the first 18 months, after which he would take over in October 2021.