Annexation Snags Unity Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel unity government
Blue and White Party chief Benny Gantz. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The stunning news of a unity government forming was followed up with intensive negotiations to finalize a deal, but the Likud and Blue and White parties have not yet announced an agreement, and Israeli media were saying on Monday there’s a sticking point.

Beyond the usual wrangling over cabinet posts, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz is refusing to go along with unilateral annexation in Yehudah and Shomron, according to Channel 12 news on Monday.

Gantz voiced support for U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan when it was unveiled in Washington, but he has always qualified his support as requiring coordination with the Palestinians and the international community, ruling out unilateral action.

This presents a problem, since Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ and his right-wing partners are committed to annexing parts of Yehudah and Shomron as soon as mapping of the region is completed and Washington gives its approval. For Gantz, that may not be good enough.

At the same time, the two sides continue to argue over who will control the Justice, Health and other ministries, with PM Netanyahu under heavy pressure from his bloc to keep them.