Israel’s new government signed a deal in the West Bank

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Israel’s new government signed a deal in the West Bank, signaling the continuation of Netanyahu’s policies. Avitar outpost near the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. This provided an initial test for Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and his government ideologically separate from him, but ultimately led to a settlement with Jewish settlers at an unauthorized outpost in the occupied West Bank.

Israel’s new government signed a deal

Under the agreement, 53 families will leave the top of the hill south of Nablus, Daniela Weiss, head of the outpost’s settler group, told NBC News this week. Weiss said a survey would be conducted to show that the settlement, named Avitar in honor of an Israeli killed by a Palestinian in 2013, was established on state lands and not on lands privately owned by Palestinians. She said the plan is to establish a religious school and then return to the families eventually.

An Israeli government official confirmed that an agreement had been reached. Weiss said that she was not satisfied with the deal, but that she had chosen the least preferred option because “the alternative is a terrible conflict between thousands of settlers and thousands of soldiers.”

Israeli settlers at the Eviatar outpost

The outpost presented a challenge to the fledgling Bennett government, which took office last month. The new prime minister is a supporter of Jewish settlements and is opposed to the Palestinian state. But he chairs a patchwork coalition of right-wing, centrist and left-wing parties that includes lawmakers who oppose settlements and favor a Palestinian state.

The settlement with the settlers would be a blow to the leftist factions of Bennett’s coalition and indicates, analysts said, that his government is not taking the dial off the expansionist policies of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“There has been a responsibility within the government,” said Mairav ​​Zonszin, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, which works to prevent war. “But ultimately, this settlement is really a de facto acceptance of the rest of the outpost.”

Interior Minister Aylett Shek, a member of the Bennett Settlers Yamina Party, tweeted Wednesday that the settlement was “a significant achievement” for settlers in the Land of Israel and thanked “Eviar pioneers who demonstrate Zionism, devotedly“.

But Omar Barlev, Minister of Public Security and member of the center-left Labor Party, tweeted that “illegal checkpoints should be vacated simply because they are illegal.” Most of the international community considers settlements in the West Bank illegal.

According to Yuval Shaini, a professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, outposts like Avitar have been established without government permission and without a legitimate title to it, and are consequently illegal under Israeli law and international law.

Israel’s new government signed a deal

Palestinians have been protesting daily in the nearby village of Beita. According to Beita resident Mohamed Khabisa, five people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes with Israeli troops. The Israeli army said hundreds of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces in the violent riots, which used “riot methods.” The army said an investigation was launched into the five deaths.

“If that settlement stays there, it’s a profession,” he said. There is a pact between the Israeli government, the army and the settlers; they are all the same as me. Israeli settlers at the Eviatar outpost watch laser beams being fired at Palestinian protesters earlier this week. Israeli settlers at the Eviatar outpost watch laser beams being fired at Palestinian protesters earlier this week.

Israel occupied the Jordanian-occupied West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, but the Palestinians want the region to be part of a future Palestinian state. Israeli authorities also demolished a Palestinian butcher shop on Tuesday and 15 families are at risk of losing their properties, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, in the Al Bustan region of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silvan.

Amani Odeh, 34, whose home is in danger, said the new coalition has already stepped up the previous government’s policies in East Jerusalem. “They destroy the hope of the people,” she said, adding that residents now depend on international law and intervention to protect them.

The Biden administration has lobbied Israel to refrain from taking unilateral measures that may hamper the eventual revival of the peace process, which has been moribund for more than a decade. Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli expert in Jerusalem, said that while he thought the new government would be more attentive to voices from the United States and Europe than from Netanyahu, it was unclear whether this would affect policy.

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“After 54 years of occupation and 12 years of Netanyahu, the ideology of the settlers is the DNA of official Israel and the organs of the Israeli government,” Seidemann said. He said Avitar’s position indicated that the decision makers were not brave enough to stand up to the settlers, but that these policies could change with time, effort and courage.

Israel is moving toward a coalition agreement

Israel is moving toward a coalition agreement that could sideline Netanyahu. Naftali Bennett, an ultra-nationalist, and Yair Lapid, a centrist, are moving closer to forming a fragile coalition government that would topple former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel’s longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, Benjamin Netanyahu, faced the most powerful threat to his grip on power when Naftali Bennett, an ultra-nationalist power broker, said his party was at a standstill from the leaders of Israel. the opposition. Together we will work to form an alternative government. Mr. Netanyahu from the office.

Israel is moving toward a coalition agreement

If the maneuver leads to a formal coalition agreement, it will be an uneasy alliance between eight relatively small parties with a wide range of ideologies. The prime minister’s job will rotate between two unlikely partners: Bennett, a former settler leader who rejects the concept of a sovereign Palestinian state and supports the religious right, and Yair Lapid, a former television host known for secularism. be the voice of the middle class. .

Catching up: The main protagonists of the latest twist in Israeli politics have very different agendas, but a common goal: to overthrow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett’s announcement came shortly after an armed conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza that various views improved Netanyahu’s chances of remaining in office.

Due to the deep ideological differences within the emerging coalition, which would include both members of the left and members of the extreme right, its leaders have indicated that their government would initially refrain from pursuing initiatives that could increase its political dissonance, such as: that they relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and instead focus on infrastructure and economic policy.

If he is forced to leave office, Netanyahu is unlikely to leave politics. Either way, however, he has left a lasting legacy. He steadily shifted the basis of Israeli policy to the right, with the prominence of Mr. Bennett as an excellent example and presiding over the dismantling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, all made important diplomatic agreements with four Arab states, Israel broke conventional wisdom about- Arab relations.

By repeatedly attacking the judiciary and staying in office during corruption trials, Netanyahu has also been accused of undermining the core tenets of liberal democracy and is not going without a fight: Bennett Shortly after the announcement, Netanyahu responded with a speech of his own , calling on right-wing lawmakers within the opposition coalition to leave Bennett for his right-wing faction.

“This is not unity, healing or democracy,” Netanyahu said. “This is an opportunistic government. A government of surrender, a government of deception, a government of inertia. Such a government should not be formed. “Ideological differences between opposition parties were the main reason why Bennett waited so long since the March general election to come to terms with Lapid. Pressure from his own party not to break up with the religious alliance, a factor to which he alluded in his speech on Sunday.

“This is the toughest decision I’ve ever made, but I’m at peace,” Bennett said. Any agreement reached in the coming days will need to be formally presented to Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin before Wednesday night. Even then, the Israeli parliament would still need to be backed by a vote with the Hebrew name Knesset.

With the deal under discussion, Bennett will lead the government first, perhaps until fall 2023, while Lapid will serve as foreign minister, according to two people involved in the talks. The couple would then switch roles until a new general election in 2025. Bennett’s party won fewer seats than Lapid’s in the March elections, but has a significant advantage during negotiations, as a government cannot be formed without him.

His government would depend on the support of Ram, a smaller Arab Islamic party, to give it the 61 seats needed to control the 120-seat parliament. Ram is unlikely to play a formal role in the coalition, but he is expected to support the new government in the Knesset vote of confidence. Netanyahu will remain acting prime minister until a parliamentary vote.

Negotiations for this alliance were nearly derailed by the recent conflict with Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip. This led Mr. Bennett to form a government dependent on Ram, which has its roots in the same religious stream as the Gaza militants.

If approved, the deal would mark the end of the Netanyahu era, at least for now. Supporters of the proposed coalition hope it can break the deadlock that has hampered government action for more than two years.

Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party, has been in office since 2009, following an earlier period between 1996 and 1999. His 15 years in power make him the longest-serving leader in Israel; This is more than a year longer than the joint term of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion.

Near the end of Mr. Netanyahu’s term, he received a major diplomatic award along with a lucrative set of normalization agreements between Israel and the four Arab states. He ignored the idea that Israel would stabilize its relations with the Arab world only if it made peace with the Palestinians.

Under Netanyahu, Israel also scored diplomatic victories with the United States: The Trump administration moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, closed its consulate for Palestinian affairs, closed the Palestinian mission in the United States, surrendered, and took a more belligerent line. against Israel. Enemy Iran.

But the Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed under Netanyahu’s supervision, and the formal talks ended seven years ago. And tensions with Israel’s Arab minority increased, sparking widespread violence from the Arab-Jewish mafia during the recent conflict.

His government also enacted a law in 2018 that degraded the status of the Arabic language in Israel, saying that only Jews had the right to determine the nature of the state of Israel. Netanyahu also helped increase the far-right’s influence over public discourse, through an electoral agreement with far-right politicians that eventually allowed him to enter parliament.

And by clinging to power during hearings on corruption charges, critics said, he undermined the rule of law and undermined democratic norms, all despite being unable to devote his full attention to governance, such bleak courtrooms.

Netanyahu has denied the allegations and defended his right to clear his name without resigning. The case, and its polarizing effect on the Israeli electorate, played a major role in Israel’s political instability over the past four years.

Netanyahu’s decision to remain in office divided voters less by political beliefs than by his attitude toward him. In particular, he divided Israel’s authority and made it difficult for both Mr. Netanyahu and his opponents to form an active majority.

This led to four inconclusive elections over two years, each of which ended without any one faction long enough to win power. Among other problems, the stagnation left the country without a state budget. He said the desire to avoid a fifth election was the main reason behind Bennett’s decision. “This is the fifth election or a unity government,” he said.

After the first two elections in 2019, Netanyahu was left in charge as interim prime minister. After a third vote, in March 2020, he formed a national unity government with his main rival, Benny Gantz, a volatile deal that collapsed last December when the two factions failed to agree on a state budget.

A similar impasse initially emerged after the most recent elections in April. President Rivlin gave Netanyahu, whose party finished first, an initial mandate to try to form a governing coalition. But that failed when a far-right group refused to enter an alliance dependent on Rama, who has the balance of power.

This gave Lapid, whose centrist party, Yes Atid, or There is a Future, came in second, to form a government. His efforts were initially stopped by the outbreak of fighting between Israel and the Palestinians, prompting his potential coalition ally, Mr. Bennett, to withdraw from the coalition talks.

But a ceasefire made it easier for the couple to resume talks, leading to Sunday’s move. Lapid, 57, is a former broadcaster who entered politics in 2012 and served as finance minister with Netanyahu in 2013.

He was known for his moves to remodel a welfare system that gave money to devout Jewish men who studied religious texts rather than seeking gainful employment. The subsequent administration reversed most of Lapid’s changes.

During the campaign, Lapid, 57, vowed to maintain checks and balances and protect the judiciary. Bennett, 49, is a former Israeli army commando and software entrepreneur.

He lives in Israel, but once headed the Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. In January, his party was in a formal alliance with far-right leader Bezel Smotrich. Mr. Bennett opposes the Palestinian state and supports the formal annexation of much of the West Bank.

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