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Analysis

Amid Political Crisis, Home Instability Alarm Bells are Ringing for Israelis

Saturday 2 November 2019
Amid Political Crisis, Home Instability Alarm Bells are Ringing for Israelis

Alwaght- The government formation continues to make up a limbo in Israeli politics as the regime is paralyzed by six months of political uncertainty. Over a month ago, the Israelis cast their votes in the second election in half a year but they are yet to see if a cabinet comes to the formation.

The government formation in the Israeli regime is so twisted currently that it is not clear who is responsible for the premiership.

A week ago, Benjamin Netanyahu admitted he could not persuade his rivals to form a coalition cabinet. He said that he is giving Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party, a chance to form a government, to avoid the third election. Still, the situation has developed so badly for Gantz that he has so far failed to form a government, something making the political crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories going beyond six months.

Where did everything begin? 

For the nearly past seven months, the Israelis failed to see a new government formed. The stand-off started in April. In the time’s parliamentary vote, Netanyahu, then PM and the leader of Likud party, made a very weak success. He was forced to seek coalition with other parties, mainly the rightists like that of his Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The negotiations for a coalition government with Lieberman failed as the latter insisted that the conscription should be made compulsory for all Israelis, including the ultra-Orthodox citizens who are exempted from military service according to the constitution.

None of the right-wing parties managed to ally with Netanyahu. The stalemate forced another early election, in September, giving the conflicting parties another chance to agree on a government. But the election results did not make any difference, with none of the parties managing to win an outright majority to form a cabinet independently. After a month, the clash of views remains the grand challenge and hurdle ahead of the coalition government in the Israeli regime.

What is the most likely coalition government?

In the recent parliamentary election, the Blue and White alliance won 33 Knesset seats. Likud won 31 seats.

The Knesset has 120 seats. The September election ended up giving no party a majority. So, any government that should be formed should come out of a coalition with the Blue and White or Likud, or else these two should coalesce.

The two main parties are rightist. The White and Blue has so far not yielded to Netanyahu’s efforts for the alliance. Their main sticking point is the foreign policy of Tel Aviv.

While Likud insists that the Israeli foreign policy should recognize Iran as the main threat and confront it, the White and Blue insist that the core threat is posed from the borders with Palestine. It even goes beyond security threats, arguing that the threats could come from economic and social gaps widening in the Israeli society. This is a division making any coalition government hard to form.

The master key in Palestinian hands

In the September election, a determining factor had shown itself. It is the relatively big number of votes of the Palestinian and Arab voters living in the occupied territories. In the second election, the Arab list won 13 seats to turn into the third-largest parliamentary bloc. This means that it is a decisive player in choosing the next prime minister.

This makes the Arab bloc a master key in the deadlock. Both White and Blue and Likud in the case of the coalition with this bloc can form a government. But incorporating the Palestinians in the next Israeli government is impossible. None of the two Israeli parties will enter an alliance with the Arabs no matter how worsening the situation is. This means the impasse will continue firmly in the occupied territories.

A temporary solution, unstable cabinet

As the political crisis unfolded, some sources have said that Benny Gantz, as part of efforts to bring a solution to the problem, intends to propose to Netanyahu to both fill the PM post alternately. According to the plan, Netanyahu will first become PM and during his term religion and administration laws will be passed. The sources added that Gantz will suggest an alliance to Netanyahu according to which in the first stage no radical parties will be included in the alliance. After a while, when the religion and administration matters are discussed in the Knesset, the right-wing parties will be allowed in. But such a solution is quite temporary and fragile because the key conflicts, over the region and foreign policy, remain unresolved, making the upcoming government continuously swinging between collapse and sustention. To put it differently, forming a government while allowing the sticking points to continue will make the cabinet prone to fall anytime. Under any differences, the parties could withdraw ministers from the government to sink it. 

The current situation affected by the actions of White and Blue, Likud, and Yisrael Beiteinu, whose leader Lieberman rejected to team up with Netanyahu for a new government, bears no clue of stability internally. Perhaps the alarm bells to Israeli home instability have been set off sooner than expected. 

Tags :

Israel Stalemate Election Netanyahu Right-wing

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