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Netanyahu threatens to boycott elections if prevented from leading government

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a statement to the press during a Likud Party meeting on 1 March, 2020 in the city of Lod, Israel [Amir Levy/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a statement to the press during a Likud Party meeting on 1 March, 2020 in the city of Lod, Israel [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israel has been witnessing an escalating crisis due to the failure to form a new government and the increasing likelihood of heading towards the fourth elections to the Knesset. As a result, head of the Blue and White Party, Benny Gantz, has threatened that if there is no agreement between his party and the Likud party, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to form a unity government next Monday, he will support the enactment of a law that prevents Netanyahu from chairing a government on the background of the indictment against him for serious corruption offenses.

The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted, on 17 April, 2020, Gantz as stating during a meeting of his party’s bloc in the Knesset on Thursday, that the Knesset will return to full activity next Monday.

Gantz’s statements were explained by members of his party as a clear hint for Netanyahu that: “If an agreement to form a government is not signed until next Monday, the party will operate freely in the Knesset, including endorsing ‘Netanyahu’s laws’, such as preventing a candidate for prime minister from assuming the position under indictments.”

READ: Israel’s Lieberman calls on Gantz to back effort to oust Netanyahu

The Blue and White Party accuses Netanyahu of wasting time and rejecting progress in negotiations to form a government, in order to gain time and impose a fourth election.

On the other hand, the newspaper quoted sources in the Likud Party as stating that: “It is not possible to sign an agreement without regulations guaranteeing Netanyahu’s mandate despite the legal dilemma.”

Modest Netanyahu – “I am ready to leave my position tomorrow as prime minister, but I have no one to leave the keys with” – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

During the coalition negotiations, Gantz’s party refused to provide Netanyahu with a safety net by enacting laws that circumvent the Supreme Court or rescind its decisions, if the court decides during its consideration of the petitions to prevent Netanyahu from taking over the government.

In a related context, investigative journalist of the Haaretz newspaper, Gidi Weitz, revealed on Friday, that politicians talking with Netanyahu: “Were stunned when they discovered that Netanyahu’s statements against the judiciary are similar to the more extreme statements expressed by his supporters in social networks.”

In talks with close politicians, Netanyahu ridiculed the Supreme Court judges, as: “Saints of the Supreme Court,” according to Weitz, and described them as: “Part of a secret organisation composed of jurists who decided to eliminate him politically and put him in jail,” adding that: “The police, the public prosecutor and the Supreme Court have become worse enemies than Iran and Barack Obama and the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Arnon Mozes.”

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