The chances of a new Israeli government replacing the far-right coalition of Benjamin Netanyahu has suffered a blow following the decision by the Ra'am Party to freeze contacts with Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, as assaults against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem increase.
Lapid received the mandate last week from President Rivlin which grants him 28 days to try to form a government, following Netanyahu's failure to cobble together a coalition following Israel's fourth election in two years.
The chairman of the Ra'am, Mansour Abbas, announced last night that the negotiations on the formation of a government have been halted in light of the escalation in Gaza and tensions in Jerusalem. The besieged enclave was bombed yesterday by occupation jets killing dozens of Palestinians including nine children, while occupied East Jerusalem saw some of the worst violence in its history with Israeli forces storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque, causing injuries to 300 Palestinians.
A senior Ra'am official told Kan 11 News that they do not know if they will be able to resume negotiations before Lapid's mandate to form a government expires and that this depends on the extent of the escalation.
This development is likely to dent the chances of ousting Netanyahu and push Israel to its fifth election in two years.
Former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, said that Netanyahu ordered the brutal attack on Al-Aqsa to satisfy Jewish settlers and secure his position as premier.
Sabri said yesterday that Israeli occupation forces attacked Al-Aqsa Mosque, upon orders from Netanyahu, to satisfy the settlers, so that he would remain in the position of prime minister.