Netanyahu: Gantz’s Plan to Form Minority Government With Arab Parties

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press regarding implementing Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and it’s Jewish settlements, in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud lawmakers during an emergency conference call on Saturday that the Blue and White party intends to form a minority government supported by the Arab parties, something he said would be an “unprecedented disaster” for the State of Israel.

“We know for a fact” Blue and White’s leaders have already agreed on a minority government with the Joint List, said Netanyahu, according to a report in Haaretz.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has only until Nov. 20 to form a government, after which he must return the mandate to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

“[Going for another] election is a disaster, but setting up a government that depends on the Arab parties is an even bigger disaster. It’s a historic danger to Israel’s security. It will gravely hurt the security of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

On Saturday night, Netanyahu posted a video message on social media in which he asked Blue and White co-leaders and former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Moshe Ya’alon: “Are you out of your mind? There is still time to stop this madness.”

Netanyahu took his message to the public on Sunday, inviting supporters via Twitter to take part in a gathering at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds against a minority government “dependent on supporters of terrorism.”

“A minority government that is dependent on the Arab parties, who want to put our soldiers on trial as ‘war criminals’ = a danger to the State of Israel and a slap in the face of Israel Defense Forces soldiers,” wrote Netanyahu.

A government “dependent on supporters of Islamic Jihad and Hamas” would be “historically dangerous” to Israel, said Netanyahu, adding that he would personally attend the event.

Joint List leaders Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh have frequently been perceived as aligning with anti-Israel forces in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority.

While Blue and White has not denied that it is exploring the creation of a “transition government” should unity talks fail, Gantz called on Netanyahu on Sunday to participate in direct negotiations.

“Netanyahu, I noticed that you used the term ’emergency’ because there is a chance your government will end soon. So, no. The emergency is hundreds of missiles [being fired at] the citizens of the State of Israel. Netanyahu, internalize this: I will do everything [I can] to prevent you from dragging Israeli citizens to a third election,” Gantz wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

“I’ve said it all along and I call on you again today: Come to direct negotiations without your immunity bloc, with no tricks and no spin,” he added.

According to Channel 12, a minority government headed by Gantz is unlikely given that Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party is unlikely to support it.

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