Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Israel poised for new era as parliament votes on new government

Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in an interview with Channel 12 broadcast Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in an interview with Channel 12 broadcast
Sandy Nunez | 14 June, 2021, 00:50

Netanyahu, meanwhile, used his final speech to the Knesset plenum as prime minister to air some grievances with the new U.S. administration, as he slammed Bennett as unfit for office.

Mr Bennett, a millionaire former high-tech entrepreneur, faces a tough test maintaining an unwieldy coalition of parties from the political right, left and centre.

Israel's Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett has announced during an address to Israel's Knesset that his yet-to-be-approved government will be looking into expanding the peace deals with Arab countries. It will likely be fragile, with a razor-thin majority.

Netanyahu, of the Likud party, will lead the opposition within the Knesset. If just one faction bolts, it could lose its majority and would be at risk of collapse, giving him an opening to return to power.

None of those moves, however, nor the role he played in securing Covid-19 vaccines for Israel's world-beating inoculation campaign, were enough to grant Netanyahu's Likud party enough votes to secure him a sixth term in office.

Coalition architect Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party and is a former television presenter, would then take the helm.

"The new United States administration requested that I save our disagreements on the Iran nuclear deal for behind closed doors, and not share them publicly", Netanyahu said.

But he was not asked to join a unity government in May 2020 - a move seen as an expression of Netanyahu's personal contempt towards him. He predicted the incoming government would be weak on Iran and give in to US demands to make concessions to the Palestinians.

With little to no prospect of progress toward resolving the decades-long conflict with Israel, many Palestinians will be unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett will pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu. Serving in his first term as prime minister in the 1990s and since 2009 winning four more terms in succession, he has been a polarising figure, both overseas and at home. Each party in the coalition will want to prove that it can deliver, and for that they need "time and achievements".

Netanyahu said that the Biden administration has already requested a settlement building freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and he slammed the recent decision to reopen the USA consulate in East Jerusalem that serves Palestinians. He expects the incoming opposition leader to exploit events and propose legislation that right-wing coalition members would like to support but can't - all in order to embarrass and undermine them.

He said the country, after four inconclusive elections in under two years, had been thrown "into a maelstrom of hatred and in-fighting".

Biden heads to Europe for first foreign visit as president
Trump argued that the United States can't afford to be the world's policeman, an isolationist stance popular with his voters. The president is keen to prove that, post-Trump, the United States is once again a reliable player on the world stage.

If the coalition wins the confidence vote, Bennett, a former defense minister, will serve as prime minister for two years.

"I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process in Israel".

"I chose what's good for Israel", he said.

An official vote is expected to take place Sunday, with the new government holding its first official meeting later Sunday. "People justifiably believe that they have been tricked", Netanyahu said earlier in the week.

Israel's outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a Knesset session in Jerusalem Sunday, June 13, 2021. Facing an imminent demotion to opposition leader, he foreshadowed a willingness to damage the U.S. -Israel relationship to put his rival under pressure.

But he suffered few if any consequences from those clashes and was richly rewarded by the Trump administration, which recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital, helped broker normalization agreements with four Arab states and withdrew the USA from the Iran deal.

But he also thanked Mr Biden for his support of Israel.

His reputation as a political magician has also faded at home, where he has become a deeply polarizing figure.

But to his critics, he has become a polarising and autocratic leader who used divide-and-rule tactics to aggravate the many rifts in Israeli society. He is also dealing with a corruption trial based on allegations of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. He refused calls to step down, instead lashing out at the media, judiciary and law enforcement, going so far as to accuse his political opponents of orchestrating an attempted coup.

His supporters have hailed him as a defender of Israel who has been tough on arch foe Iran, but also struck a series of historic normalisation deals with Arab nations past year.