Israel’s president to begin talks about PM choice on Monday

15 April, 2019, 06:40 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Benjamin Netanyahu's rival party concedes Israeli election

A team led by Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, but it has not disclosed details. While his coalition partners are willing to support him now because of his command of Israel's right-wing constituency, that support could be imperilled if charges of bribery or breach of trust are handed down by Israel's Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit.

So they see that many people in the centre-right thought that this formula, "this land for peace", is not the one to reach peace, and Netanyahu convinced them in that way, also that Israel is today a superpower.

The results, released by Israel's Central Elections Committee more than 48 hours after voting stations closed on Tuesday, gave Netanyahu's Likud party 36 seats, compared with 35 for the Blue and White party, headed by former Israeli military chief of staff Benny Gantz.

In a move created to cut through his right-wing opponents, Netanyahu promised to formally annex the West Bank settlements to Israel. Strong, if not unquestioning, support of the Israeli prime minister has been a hallmark of the Trump administration.

Netanyahu was now poised to become, in July, the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, overtaking the country's founding father, David Ben-Gurion.

The New Right had one of the most disappointing performances of the election. Netanyahu, who is most likely to be the new prime minister, succeeded in securing the votes of those settlers with a pledge that, if honoured, will sound the death knell of the idea of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict (an idea only still formally defended by a tenth of Israel's parliamentary parties).

"Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu for an excellent showing in yesterday's national elections", the pro-Israel leader Kurz wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

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He also tweeted a picture of a Netanyahu supporter waving a Trump flag and telephoned the premier to offer congratulations.

Washington's recognition of Jersualem as Israel's capital and the Golan as part of Israel, is a precursor to the US's new and, as yet, secret peace plan that Mr Netanyahu could yet seal as his lasting legacy.

The vote had been expected to be close as Netanyahu faced potential corruption charges. Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem last May, further angering Palestinians.

All of the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties have said they will recommend Netanyahu, with the exception of Yisrael Beytenu's Avigdor Liberman who has said he will not recommend Gantz but has not yet committed to naming Netanyahu.

"It is the occupied Palestinians who should have voted, not the Israeli occupiers", he said, adding that the identity of the next Israeli prime minister was "meaningless".

But should Netanyahu proceed with his campaign promise and begin annexing the West Bank, he will undo much of the goodwill that has emerged between Israel and the Arab World of late. "They have said no to peace and yes to the occupation".

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