Netanyahu, Gantz Finalize Unity Agreement

YERUSHALAYIM -
israel unity government
Benny Gantz (L) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu signing the unity agreement Monday evening.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz reportedly finalized a deal to form a unity government on Monday evening, ending over a year of political impasse which saw three inconclusive elections and a fourth looming.

Netanyahu and Gantz were expected to formally announce later Monday evening a rotational premiership in which Netanyahu would serve first while Gantz holds a senior ministry.

After a number of false starts, a flurry of reports surfaced in the Israeli media saying that Likud and Blue and White were ready to sign a coalition agreement late Monday afternoon.

The reports cited Likud sources, who were claiming, not for the first time, that the problems had been solved. But Blue and White was quoted by Kan as denying that, though acknowledging that the remaining issue is “resolvable.”

Neither side issued an official statement.

Earlier in the day, it looked like the unity talks were finished, as Blue and White leader and interim Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz allowed the tabling of legislation that would block Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from forming a government because of the criminal indictments hanging over him. Likud officials had warned that such a move could terminate the unity talks.

But MK Avigdor Liberman dismissed the Knesset move: “Enough of the public relations exercises. The dramatic announcement this morning regarding the collapse of Likud-Blue and White negotiations and the approval of laws recommended by Yisrael Beytenu turned out to be nothing but a [stunt].”

“As soon as the Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz put the brakes on convening the regular committee in order to promote legislative procedures and the establishment of the special committee, the decision of the Knesset presidency adds up to no more than sand in the public’s eye,” said Liberman.

 


Updated Monday, April 20, 2020 at 12:37 pm .