Blue and White: Netanyahu Had 14 Years to Annex Jordan Valley

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Jordan Valley overlooking the Kinneret. (wik)

Blue and White on Monday responded with ridicule to a proposal by the Likud that a unity government that would include Benny Gantz would see Binyamin Netanyahu remain on as prime minister for six months – to give him an opportunity to annex the Jordan Valley. The idea was proposed to Blue and White leaders in recent days, Yisrael Hayom reported.

“Netayahu was prime minister for 14 years, and now all of a sudden he decided it’s important to annex the Jordan Valley,” Blue and White number-two Yair Lapid wrote in a social media message. “This is a new ‘spin’ by Netanyahu – now he needs five months to accomplish this. What was holding him back for the more than a decade that he was in power? We can do this in a little bit longer time under Benny Gantz.” Other Blue and White MKs made comments in a similar vein.

Likud Minister Ze’ev Elkin told Reshet Bet that the idea had validity. “This is one of the main things the prime minister is planning,” he said. “Everyone knows that such a move would require quiet assent from the Americans,” something that was not possible in the past, but, given the change in U.S. policy on the legality of Israeli settlements in Yehudah and Shomron, is possible now. “We have a rare opportunity that we dare not miss.”

The Yisrael Hayom report said that the main disagreement now between the Likud and Blue and White was the rotation agreement between Netanyahu and Gantz. The Likud has proposed a changeover every six months, with Netanyahu serving first, followed by Gantz. Netanyahu would only return if his legal issues were cleared up; otherwise the Likud would seat another MK as prime minister.

A senior Likud official told the newspaper that the Likud had made “deep concessions” in order to avoid elections. “Blue and White has all the reasons in the world to say yes, it will be very strange if they turn down our proposal. Without going to elections, Gantz is prime minister in six months. He is not going to get a better deal. Even if we go to elections and he wins, he would be prime minister only in six months anyway. Here he is getting a sure thing.”

But there are elements in Blue and White – notably Yair Lapid and Moshe Yaalon – who are opposed to any deal with Netanyahu, the official said. “They are not thinking about how to create a government, just how to prevent one from being established. Lapid is not prepared to hear any ideas, he wants elections in order to ensure that he gets the rotation deal, not Netanyahu,” the official added.