Saturday, 31 July, 2021


Netanyahu uses last speech as prime minister to attack Biden on Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed Israeli politics firmly to the right over the years Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed Israeli politics firmly to the right over the years
Kristine Garrett | 14 June, 2021, 02:39

Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run in power was terminated as Israel's parliament voted in a disparate coalition that's pledged to put aside conflicting political ideologies in order to focus on national imperatives like charting an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the coalition deal, right-wing Yamina party leader Bennett becomes Israel's next prime minister for the next two years.

They lead an eight-party alliance ranging from left to right, from secular to religious, that agrees on little but a desire to oust Mr. Netanyahu, the longest-serving leader in the country's history, and to end Israel's lengthy political gridlock.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting of the new government at Chagall State Hall in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on May 24, 2020.

Sunday's vote, passed by a 60-59 margin, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four elections. "I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations".

"Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons", Bennett said, vowing to maintain Netanyahu's confrontational policy.

Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years.

Bennett, a hawkish hi-tech millionaire, is set to head a new administration that includes left-wing, centrist and Arab legislators, which he cobbled together with opposition leader Yair Lapid.

The upcoming crunch vote will either end Netanyahu's record time in office or, in case of a last-minute upset, return Israel to a stalemate likely to trigger a fifth general election since 2019. Serving in his first term as prime minister in the 1990s and winning four more terms in succession since 2009, he has been a polarising figure, both overseas and at home.

He also vowed, like Mr Netanyahu, to oppose US-led efforts to restore the global nuclear accord with Iran.

The improbable alliance emerged weeks after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, and following inter-communal violence in Israeli cities with significant Arab populations.

He argued that a government including Lapid and left-wing partners would cower before global pressure to revive the Iran deal, which Netanyahu characterizes as a path for the Islamic Republic to threaten Israel with nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu, a mastermind at navigating Israel's fractious politics, had tried in vain to peel off defectors, hoping to deprive the nascent coalition of its hard-won majority.

He has accused Bennett of "fraud" for siding with rivals, and angry rallies by the premier's Likud party supporters have resulted in security being bolstered for some lawmakers. His ongoing corruption trial - on charges he denies - has only deepened the rift.

Meanwhile, right-wing anger has grown in Israel over last week's postponement of a controversial Jewish nationalist march through flashpoint areas of east Jerusalem. Gaza's rulers Hamas said that the political developments in Jerusalem wouldn't change its relationship with Israel. "Its still a colonizing and occupying power that we must resist".

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