US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Habemus papam … or almost. After 500 days of crisis and three KO-free elections, the Israeli parliament on Sunday blessed the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, ending the longest political crisis in state history of Israel, reports AFP news agency.
But the bubbles of champagne that had barely been sabotaged could quickly fall because this government inherited an economy that had been shattered by the crisis of the new coronavirus and had to decide on a project to annex sections of the occupied West Bank, an explosive subject.
Originally scheduled for Thursday, the investiture ceremony was postponed to Sunday to allow Camp Netanyahu to finish distributing their wallets.
“The people want a unity government and that is what they will have today,” said Netanyahu before the confidence vote and the swearing in of ministers.
In the Knesset, where members of parliament with face masks with sanitary masks took place, 73 deputies voted for the government and 46 against. One deputy was absent.
The vote was not a surprise since the MM. Gantz and Netanyahu have a majority in parliament.
Under the terms of the agreement between MM. Netanyahu and Gantz, the first remains head of government for 18 months before giving up his place for a period equivalent to Benny Gantz from November 17, 2021.
– Double challenge –
This agreement concluded between the Likud (right) of Mr. Netanyahu and the centrist “Bleu-Blanc” formation of his ex-electoral rival Benny Gantz also provides for a fair sharing of the ministries and allows each camp to redistribute posts to its allies.
This has caused a congestion problem for Likud, who won the most seats in the March elections and is counting on the support of elected members of the radical right and ultra-Orthodox parties.
With ultimately a total of 36 ministers, this government will be the largest government in the country’s history, a paradox in the midst of an economic crisis linked to the pandemic, deplores part of the local press.
This “unity and emergency” government had been promised to act in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which officially infected more than 16,500 people, of whom 272 died.
The country of about nine million inhabitants began deconfinement by reopening the majority of shops and schools, but maintaining the obligation to wear a mask.
The challenge is twofold for the government: getting back on track an economy that has seen its technical unemployment rate jump from 3.4% to 27%, while avoiding a second wave of contamination.
The government must also examine the implementation of the American project for the Middle East, which provides for the annexation by Israel of the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.
– “New chapter” –
“These territories are where the Jewish people were born and raised. It is time to write a glorious new chapter in the history of Zionism,” Netanyahu told parliamentarians before referring to the annexation of the settlements. .
However, some in government, like Benny Gantz, seem cautious about the annexation. Gantz said nothing about it in the Knesset on Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Israel on Wednesday to chat with Messrs. Netanyahu and Gantz of the implementation of the American plan, indicated on Twitter welcoming “warmly the announcement of the formation of a new Israeli government”.
Over the past decade, the population of Jewish settlements in the West Bank has jumped 50% to more than 450,000 people, often living under stress, with more than 2.7 million Palestinians.
The Palestinians and neighboring Jordan have already warned of the consequences of such a project. Most countries in the European Union also want to convince Israel to give it up to avoid having to punish that country.
“If Israel really annexed (swathes of) the West Bank in July, it would lead to a major conflict with the Jordanian kingdom,” warned King Abdullah II of Jordan in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel.
The Israeli government must present its strategy on this file from July 1.
Until then, Israel could experience a new soap opera, that one, with the opening of the trial of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The longest-serving head of government in Israeli history will be the first to be tried for corruption during his term from May 24. Unless the hearing is postponed.
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