Rivals form coalition government in Israel

After a stalemate in Israel that has lasted for more than a year, the conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White alliance struck a deal earlier this week to form a coalition for a "national emergency government". Media accuse Gantz of having betrayed his own principles under the pressure of the corona crisis.

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Financial Times (GB) /

A total U-turn by the challenger

Netanyahu is the big winner of the coalition agreement, the Financial Times concludes:

“The contention of the Gantz camp was that Mr Netanyahu was unfit for public office and would do anything to stay in power and out of the courts. ... More than a soldier-statesman, Mr Gantz looks like a naive neophyte acting as a shield for the prime minister. His Blue and White coalition, the only real competition the rightwing leader has faced in his past three terms, was united only by shared loathing of Mr Netanyahu. It imploded in acrimony the minute its chief became the premier's spear-carrier.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Benny Gantz's dangerous concessions

Gantz has made concessions that threaten peace, NRC Handelsblad points out:

“Netanyahu has been given a free hand to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. ... He has the backing of American President Donald Trump and hopes for the rapid annexation of large parts of the Palestinian territories. Such a step violates international law and could sabotage any peace talks with the Palestinians forever. Gantz should never have agreed to this demand by Netanyahu. ... Benny Gantz has placed his fate and that of the Palestinians in the same unreliable hands.”