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Israel’s Gantz says unity government won’t come at ‘any cost’

April 9, 2020 at 10:08 am

President Reuven Rivlin meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on 23 September, 2019 [Haim Zach/Getty]

The head of Israel’s Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance, Benny Gantz, said yesterday that he is still willing to form a “national emergency government” with the Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu, but “not at any cost”.

“We informed them that we want a national emergency government, but not at any cost,” Gantz wrote on Facebook after the two sides called off coalition talks earlier this week.

In his post, Gantz held Likud responsible for the failed talks, saying the two sides had nearly reached an agreement when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party wanted to change a previous agreement on judicial appointments.

However, the Likud responded in a statement blaming Gantz for the failed talks.

“From the first moment, it was agreed that the unity government would stand on two clear lines: joint decision making on all issues and promoting the application of sovereignty [over the West Bank]. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Blue and White reversed on these agreements, which are a necessary basis for any equal unity government. The moment that Blue and White returns to the agreements it will be possible to complete the deal. Spin doesn’t bring unity closer but rather distances it,” the Likud said.

Israeli reports explained that Likud has been pushing for more powers over the Judicial Appointments Committee, fearing that Shai Nitzan, the former state prosecutor who oversaw the corruption investigations that resulted in charges against Netanyahu, could be appointed to the Supreme Court.

READ: Netanyahu can’t be trusted, nor can Benny Gantz