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Israel’s Long Running Election Cycle Receives Jolt

Factions Vow to Exclude Each Other from Coalition

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Posted on: 
12 Feb 2020
Israel’s Long Running Election Cycle Receives Jolt
Israel’s political scene received a jolt on Tuesday when Blue and White leader Benny Gantz announced that should he receive a mandate to form a government after elections scheduled for 2 March, he would not consider allowing the Joint (Arab) List faction to join any coalition he might try to put together. “I and the Joint List have deep disagreements on everything, including issues relating to diplomatic concerns [regarding the Palestinians], and the national and security issues of the State of Israel,” he explained.

“Israel is the only Jewish and democratic country in the world, and it needs to defend itself against external enemies. It cannot tolerate support for terror or refraining from condemning it,” he continued. “I have made this clear and I repeat it, I am not afraid to speak with any legitimate political actor, but the Joint List cannot be part of a government I will establish. My disagreement with its leadership just on national and security issues are deep, fierce, and unbridgeable.”
At the same time, he attempted to allay fears expressed by many Arab citizens of Israel that they would be transferred to a Palestinian State in any future peace arrangement.

“I want to take this topic off the table and determine that no Israeli citizen, Jew or Arab, will be forcibly transferred to another country,” said Gantz. “In the Jewish and democratic State of Israel, every citizen is equal in their rights and obligations. I intend to be the prime minister of all Israeli citizens, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, Circassian, everyone is human and everyone are equal citizens in the country.”

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh told Army Radio on Tuesday morning that he would oppose Gantz following the election, even though he endorsed him to form a government following the second election last September.

“If we don’t hear a very sharp statement against transfer and annexation, there is no chance we will support or recommend Gantz to form a government,” Odeh said. “There is no chance we will back any government with Liberman, and there is no chance we will support a government led by Gantz with the views he has expressed over the past two weeks.”

 “We will not bring the Joint List into the government, period,” Blue and White MK Gabi Ashkenazi said during his own interview with Army Radio. “We have nothing against Arab citizens, but we have nothing in common with a party that does not back Israel remaining a Jewish-democratic state.”
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