Political jockeying continued over the weekend,with sparse hours until the opening of the polls for elections of the 23rd Knesset. In the latest brouhaha, the Likud pointed to comments Friday by Labor-Meretz-Gesher head Amir Peretz as proof of its claims that Blue and White’s Benny Gantz was planning to rely on the Knesset votes of the United Arab List to form a government.
In a speech Friday, Peretz said that the deal was done. “We have an agreement with Blue and White to form a government. We will swear in that government with the support of Yisrael Beytenu and the United Arab List from outside the coalition. I will be the person who brings everyone together, taking on the role of ‘responsible adult,’ and work to expand the government after it is established. The government will be committed to the peace process, to a budget that will prioritize social needs, and will commit to appointing an Arab minister.” That minster will be Ben Gurion University Professor of Social Work Alian Alkaravani, a member of the Bedouin community, who “will help relax the tensions between Arabs and Jews and help us build a better life together.”
In a social media post, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Peretz’s remarks were a “bombshell. Amir Peretz admitted directly that that he had a deal to form a minority government relying on the votes of Yisrael Beytenu and the United Arab List. A vote for Benny Gantz or Avigdor Liberman is a vote for a dangerous government.”
Liberman, for his part, again denied that his party would support a government that relied on the votes of the United Arab List. “The leadership of the dead Labor party is apparently panicking, and is prepared to lie and make up stories. Yisrael Beytenu will certainly vote against any government that it is not a part of. The libel invented by Peretz is a tactic to harm Yisrael Beytenu because he is losing votes to us.”
Liberman also took the opportunity to attack Netanyahu. In a social media post, Liberman wrote that “I have discovered that despite all the talk about annexing the Jordan Valley” in the wake of President Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan, Netanyahu “has sent messages to King Abdullah of Jordan assuring him that there will be no annexation.” Netanyahu sent the message via IDF officials in contact with Jordanian military officials.
The Likud denied the story, saying that Netanyahu would certainly annex the Jordan Valley after the election, “while Liberman holds the hands of the Arab party to form a government. There are no limits to Liberman’s ridiculous lies.”