Gantz said planning to back Wednesday vote to call new elections

Report claims Blue and White leader will announce decision sometime before motion comes up, but sides still may be holding out hope for compromise to stave off 4th poll in 2 years

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party is expected to give initial backing to a bill to dissolve the Knesset and call early elections when it comes up for a vote Wednesday, TV reports said Monday evening, amid widespread speculation that Israelis will soon find themselves at the ballot box for the fourth time in under two years.

The opposition-backed motion of no confidence is only going up for its preliminary reading Wednesday. It would still need to be approved by a Knesset committee and then pass three more votes to formally dissolve the government.

Channel 13 news said that Gantz’s chief of staff Maayan Israeli spoke Monday evening with Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Asher Ohayon, and told him that Blue and White would “vote in favor of dissolving the Knesset on Wednesday.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Blue and White have been at loggerheads almost since the start of their power-sharing coalition in May, but ties between the two have hit a nadir in recent weeks as a budget deadline neared.

Gantz’s decision would kill any hopes he had of assuming the premiership, as part of a rotation deal and put a final nail in the parties’ ill-fated coalition after barely half a year.

According to Channel 12 news, talks between Likud and Blue and White to try and solve the impasse have not led anywhere, though Gantz has left open the possibility of Likud offering a compromise to stave off early elections.

The unsourced report said that senior Blue and White members favor dissolving the coalition and that Gantz was likely to follow suit and announce the decision in a press conference Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, the Kan public broadcaster contended that a final decision had not been made and reported that during a Blue and White faction meeting, some party members had pressured Gantz to at least support it in the preliminary vote as a means of pressuring Likud.

Channel 12 said a prerequisite for any compromise with Likud would be legislation forcing Likud to honor the power-sharing coalition agreement, according to which Gantz is supposed to become prime minister in November 2021, and close a current loophole that lets Netanyahu remain premier if the government falls due to failure to pass the state budget.

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Labor party will back vote for new elections, ending government ‘paralysis’

Economy Minister Peretz says state budget has been taken ‘hostage’ by Netanyahu, Welfare Minister Shmuli declares ‘no point in continuing’ unity coalition

The Labor party on Tuesday said it would back a bill to disband the Knesset and call early elections, amid widespread speculation that Israelis will soon head back to the ballot box for the fourth time in under two years.

With Labor’s backing and that of another small coalition party, Derech Eretz, the fate of the bill now lies in the hands of the Blue and White party, which is reportedly planning to also support the motion.

The motion of no confidence is going up for its preliminary reading Wednesday. It would still need to be approved by a Knesset committee and then pass three more votes to formally dissolve the government.

Labor’s leader, Economy Minister Amir Peretz, held overnight discussions with fellow party member Itzik Shmuli and the two agreed that their coalition faction of three lawmakers would support the opposition-proposed bill.

“It is not possible to continue to have a government in which the most permanent thing is uncertainty,” Peretz tweeted.

Peretz charged that “the state budget has been taken hostage by the prime minister because of personal considerations,” even as the country is gripped by the pandemic, which he described as one of the most serious crises Israel has known.

“Instead of constant paralysis and mutual accusations it is better to disband the Knesset and go to elections now,” he wrote.

Similarly, Welfare Minister Shmuli tweeted that “the prime minister puts personal considerations and external motives at the forefront and pushes everything into the… abyss.”

“It was never a dream government, but we agreed to set it up to address one of the serious crises that have happened in the country,” Shmuli wrote. “There is no point in continuing like this. We will vote in favor tomorrow.”

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Report: Netanyahu took part in effort with US, Saudi Arabia to pressure Jordan

Washington Post says Israeli intelligence agencies told King Abdullah II they weren’t involved in alleged plot against him, appeared to suggest the PM was to blame

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was involved in efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to pressure Jordan’s King Abdullah II as part of the Trump administration’s promotion of its Middle East peace plan, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

The report described the efforts as having challenged Abdullah’s domestic political standing in recent years, culminating in the exposure in April of an alleged plot to “destabilize” Jordan that ensnared the king’s half-brother Prince Hamza and former senior officials Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid.

Much of the pressure reportedly concerned Jerusalem, where Abdullah is recognized as the custodian of the Temple Mount and other Muslim sites in the Old City, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War. Israel recognized the Jordanian monarchy’s status as custodian in the 1994 peace agreement between the countries.

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Israeli Lawmaker Defies Hamas Threats, Promises To Hold Jerusalem Day Flag March

Israeli MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, head of the right-wing Otzma Yehudit party, has said he plans to walk the “full route” of a planned march celebrating Jerusalem Day whether or not the police agree to watching over the event.

Ben-Gvir said in a statement Tuesday that he would march on Thursday despite the Israeli government and police postponing the event until next Tuesday, calling the postponement a “surrender to Hamas.” Hamas, a U.S.-recognized terror group, signaled earlier this week that it would lash out at Israel should the flag march take place.“The postponement of the march is a surrender to Hamas and a fold in the face of a terrorist organization. Hamas has ruled that Jews will not march through the Old City on Thursday. The Government of Israel and the Israel Police surrendered,” Ben-Gvir said, according to a translation of his tweet.

“The police are not ready to make a commitment to the organizers who will march at the Nablus Gate. On Thursday I will arrive in the Old City of Jerusalem and march with Israeli flags – I will not accept the disgrace,” he added.

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WATCH: Tony Blinken Declines to Confirm Israeli Sovereignty over Golan Heights

Secretary of State Tony Blinken declined Monday to confirm that the U.S. recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, when asked directly by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) about the issue at the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Israel captured the area in the Six Day War in 1967, after the Syrian military had used it to shell Israeli civilians in the Galilee. Israel was prepared to give most of it back to Syria in peace talks in the 1990s, but was rejected by the regime.

The rise of the so-called “Islamic State,” or ISIS, a decade ago, and the subsequent intervention of Iran in the Syrian Civil War, cemented the importance of Israeli control over the Golan Heights as a strategic buffer against invasion.

President Donald Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights in 2019. In gratitude, Israel named a town in the Golan after him, “Trump Heights.” Blinken appeared to walk back that commitment, however, in February.

Zeldin asked Blinken directly about the issue, and the two had the following exchange during Monday’s testimony:

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Poll: Public prefers Bennett-Lapid gov’t to election, but few expect it to last

Survey for Channel 12 also shows more Israelis trust Yamina chief than Netanyahu, and more Israelis blame the premier for the failure to form a right-wing government

A plurality of Israelis prefer the prospective power-sharing government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid to new elections, but only a quarter believe it will succeed, a poll indicated Saturday.

The Midgam survey for Channel 12 showed 46 percent of Israelis prefer the emergent government to a fifth national vote, while 38% would like to go to the polls again. Fifteen percent said they did not know. On the right, a third of right-wing voters said they preferred the change government, while 55% prefer elections.

Meanwhile 42% think the government will be sworn in but won’t last, 16% think it won’t even be sworn in, and only 24% believe it will be sworn in and last.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/poll-public-prefers-bennett-lapid-govt-to-election-but-few-expect-it-to-last/

 

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Gantz ups pressure on Netanyahu as coalition teeters on brink of collapse

Blue and White head instructs party to advance contentious laws without backing of Likud in move that could bring down government; PM: ‘We’ll vote against elections, and for unity’

Amid growing speculation Israelis will soon find themselves at the ballot box for the fourth time in under two years, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered his Blue and White party on Monday to prepare proposals for a number of contentious laws that do not have coalition backing, in a move that could bring down the government.

The Blue and White announcement came two days before a planned Knesset vote of no confidence in the government. It said Gantz had instructed the party to put forward three legislative proposals: “The Basic Law: Equality,” which Gantz said “aimed to enshrine the right to equality and the prohibition of discrimination”; “the surrogacy law,” which would “evenly expand the circle of those entitled to surrogacy, expand the circle of women who can serve as surrogates and regulate the possibility of surrogacy outside Israel”; and “The Basic Law: The Declaration of Independence,” which would require judges to “interpret all Israeli legislation, including other Basic Laws, in light of the Declaration of Independence as a constitutional document.”

Following the announcement, the Likud party said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would give a “special statement” on the possibility of early elections, which TV stations covered live, anticipating political drama. Speaking briefly at the start of his Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu instead merely said that his party would not support efforts to disband the Knesset immediately, and would vote this week “against new elections, and for the unity of the people of Israel.”

Blue and White responded by saying in a statement that “the public is done with buying Netanyahu’s lies. If there were no trial, there would be a budget.” That was a reference to Netanyahu’s corruption trial and the continued delay in approving a new state budget.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas party, a staunch ally of Netanyahu’s Likud, slammed Blue and White for putting forward the law bills and said the party and Gantz “have decided to dissolve the government and go to elections” in a move that “signals a severe political distress.”

Shas leader Aryeh Deri earlier this year offered a personal guarantee on primetime TV that Netanyahu would honor the coalition deal and that Gantz would become prime minister. Earlier this month, he appeared to disavow that guarantee.

Bringing the Blue and White proposals to the Knesset without specific agreement from Likud violates a clause in the coalition agreements signed between the two parties, but seems to be an effort to call Netanyahu’s bluff.

On Thursday Netanyahu said, “When agreements are not respected on the part of Blue and White, there is no doubt that we are on the way to elections.

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Plagiarist Joe Biden Lied – Tries to Take Credit for Israel and Hamas Ceasefire That Was Brokered by Egypt

Plagiarist Joe Biden got caught in another lie on Thursday night.

The far-left president known for his plagiarism took credit for the Israel and Hamas ceasefire — that was brokered by Egypt.

For the record, President El-Sisi in Egypt is the same leader Obama and Biden tried to take down just a few years ago and replace with the Muslim Brotherhood.

FOX News reported:

President Biden sought to take credit for a cease-fire Thursday between Israel and Hamas, despite reports that it was Egypt that brokered the peace.

Biden, who spoke at the White House, included a sentence in his remarks commending Egyptian officials for their “critical role” in ending the fighting. But he repeatedly emphasized the intensive work he said was done by his own administration.

“Over the last 11 days, I spoke with the prime minister six times. I’ve also spoken with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority more the once and part of our intense diplomatic engagement,” Biden said, “And I want to also thank secretary of state, the secretary of defense, our national security adviser, and everyone on our team for their incredible efforts to bring this about, this outcome that we’re about to see.

“You know, we’ve held intensive, high-level discussions, hour by hour, literally, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries, with an aim of avoiding this sort of prolonged conflict we’ve seen in previous years when the hostilities have broken out.”

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Netanyahu assures Biden that Israel is seeking to limit Gaza civilian casualties

President backs Israeli self-defense; stresses need for journalists’ safety, after IDF blows up media tower it says also served Hamas; says Palestinians deserve security, freedom

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with US President Joe Biden on Saturday about the ongoing escalation in violence between Israel and terrorists in the Gaza Strip and said the IDF was doing everything possible to avoid harming civilians, according to an Israeli statement on the call.

Biden, for his part, said he was worried about the safety of journalists in the conflict zone, after Israel demolished a Gaza tower where foreign journalists had offices. The IDF had warned occupants that it was going to demolish the tower, which it said was used as a Hamas intel HQ.

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In their first phone call, Abbas urges Biden to intervene, stop Israeli attacks

US president opposes Sheikh Jarrah evictions, PA leader’s office says; two leaders discuss ceasefire efforts, two-state solution

US President Joe Biden spoke on the phone on Saturday night with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the first time since the former took office in January, both said in statements.

According to Abbas’s office, the two presidents discussed efforts to reach a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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