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  • The two parties will begin advancing legislation to enshrine a rotation agreement for the premiership between the two leaders, Haaretz reported.

    The two parties will begin advancing legislation to enshrine a rotation agreement for the premiership between the two leaders, Haaretz reported. | Photo: EFE

Published 20 April 2020
Opinion

Right-wing Netanyahu will remain in power as PM while Gantz will serve as deputy. The two will switch positions after 18 months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and former rival Benny Gantz's Blue and White party signed Monday a coalition agreement, putting an end to the worst political crisis the country has witnessed in decades. 

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“We have prevented a fourth election. We will protect democracy. We will fight coronavirus and care for all Israel’s citizens,” Gantz said on Twitter after signing the deal, while Netanyahu Tweeted the Israeli flag.

The two parties will begin advancing legislation to enshrine a rotation agreement for the premiership between the two leaders, Haaretz reported Monday.

Right-wing Netanyahu, who has been in office for 11 years, will remain in power as PM while Gantz will serve as deputy. The two will switch positions after 18 months.

It was also decided that Netanyahu could move forward with legislation to annex parts of the West Bank starting July 1, on the condition of Washington’s greenlight, according to the deal.

“Given the (United States President) Trump administration’s close relationship with Netanyahu, we have very serious, challenging days ahead,” senior Palestine Liberation Organisation official, Hanan Ashrawi, said. “This is extremely dangerous not just for Palestine, for Israel, for the region, but for the world.”

A U.S. peace plan presented by Trump in January was embraced by Israel and rejected by the Palestinians, for awarding the Jewish state most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all the illegally occupied land on which it has built settlements.

Also as part of the agreement, Netanyahu will be able to veto the appointments of the next attorney general and state prosecutor, as his trial in three corruption cases is set to begin on May 24. 

The deal additionally said a deputy prime minister will be allowed to remain in office under indictment and will receive an official residence.

Gantz will be appointed as Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. The agreement also states that he has veto power over the appointment for the Knesset (parliament) speaker.

Likud will run the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, the Economic Affairs Committee and the temporary coronavirus committee. Blue and White Party will control of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Around 2,000 people gathered Sunday in Tel Aviv to protest Netanyahu’s ongoing rule as the PM is indicted in three bribery, fraud and breach of trust cases. 

Gantz had vowed during his campaigns that he would never sit in a government led by a premier facing corruption charges. But the former general changed his position due to the gravity of the coronavirus crisis, he said. 

This decision angered many of his political allies who split from the Blue and White party and will be part of the opposition in the Knesset.

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