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Netanyahu: Dasvidaniya

Sep 16,2019 - Last updated at Sep 16,2019

Most of the debate among the various Israeli parties is not whether the principle of annexing the West Bank colonies and the occupied Jordan Valley adjacent to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea is contestable, but when to declare such a step and the manner in which it should be done.

In his insatiable desire to become the uncontested king of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu rushed into declaring his promise to annex these occupied territories to Israel in the hope to sway right-wingers and ultra-religious extremists to vote for him first, and to accept inclusion in his prospectus coalition government.

The paradox that Netanyahu faces is that his main target is the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, headed by the secular warmonger Avigdor Lieberman, who had resigned in November 2018 in protest of a ceasefire in Gaza. Lieberman does not accept Orthodox (ultra-religious) parties to be a part of any coalition he may join, thus putting Netanyahu in a corner.

Netanyahu, who competes with Lieberman over votes and wants him to join his coalition, is at odds. Not only does Netanyahu need to cope with Yisrael Beiteinu Party, but he also must contend with his rival Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White alliance. Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White got 36 and 35 seats respectively in the Knesset in the last April elections.

Netanyahu is also trying hard to make the life of Gantz and Lieberman very difficult should either be asked to form a government. If the ultra-religious parties insist on fulfilling Netanyahu’s promise of annexation, then neither Gantz nor Leiberman would be in a position to refuse that demand, unless they ask Arab Knesset members to join the coalition.

Such a situation could, if Israeli settlers, extremists or ultra-religious groups insist on annexation, become inflammable and the political scene in Israel would go topsy-turvy.

Under the circumstances, Netanyahu hopes to close the doors of erecting a government that would exclude him. Or he could be sacked by the Likud, some of whose members would be more than willing to join a government under Gantz or Lieberman.

I am not a betting man, but all Netanyahu’s theatrics he is displaying by visiting Russian leader Vladimir Putin or holding the Cabinet session in the Jordan Valley would not work. If I were to bet, however, I would bet that Lieberman is the most likely new prime minister of Israel, and Gantz would be willing to serve as his deputy and minister of war.

Netanyahu most likely is no more.

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