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Israel’s Netanyahu to Gantz: Annexation or fourth elections

Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, reacts as he appears before supporters at the alliance headquarters in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]
Retired Israeli general Benny Gantz, one of the leaders of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) political alliance, reacts as he appears before supporters at the alliance headquarters in Tel Aviv on April 10, 2019 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his partner in the power-sharing government Benny Gantz to choose between the annexation plan or heading to a fourth election, local media revealed yesterday.

According to Quds Press, Israeli Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom, which is close to Netanyahu, said: “An embarrassing week is waiting for Israel. It is not embarrassing for the settlement enterprise, but for the whole political establishment.”

The reason, the newspaper added, is Netanyahu’s persistence to carry out his life mission: the annexation of large parts of the occupied West Bank.

READ: Israel takes steps to isolate Jordan Valley in preparation for annexation

“During the talks of the coalition government, Netanyahu was surprised with Gantz’s strong opposition to the annexation plan. Therefore, he called for American support to carry out the plan, but the Americans conditioned consensus within the Israeli government,” the Israeli paper was reported to have said.

Israel Hayom said that Netanyahu insisted on carrying out the annexation plan and stressed there is not other option. It means, the paper said, either annexation goes ahead or fourth elections are held.

Israel held three elections in the space of a year after none of the leading parties were able to form coalition governments, forcing the two competing forces of Netanyahu and Gantz to unite and head a power-sharing government.

Annexation of the occupied West Bank was among the terms of the unity deal, however the terms of how it would take place remain under negotiations and have been the cause of much stagnation over the past weeks. Netanyahu hopes to begin annexation on 1 July.

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IsraelIsraeli ElectionsMiddle EastPalestine
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