Scuffle Over Judea-Samaria Could Torpedo New Government

Parties agree to overall “guiding principles,” but some individual coalition deals seem to contradict one another

By Ryan Jones | | Topics: Elections
Can Israel's new government hold together long enough to be inaugurated?
Photo: Flash90

Israel’s new “government of change” hasn’t even been sworn in yet, and Channel 12 reports it could already be in danger of falling apart.

Under an agreement on “guiding principles” signed on Monday, the coalition’s eight parties, which come from all across the political spectrum, agreed to avoid as much as possible dealing with sticky political issues on which they are known to disagree.

See: Line-By-Line: Where Israel’s “Government of Change” Stands

But each party also has its own agreement with Yair Lapid, the head of the coalition’s largest faction, Yesh Atid, and the man with the mandate to form the government.

While the details of those separate agreements haven’t yet been made public, they do reportedly touch on some of those sticky issues, such as the problem of illegal Palestinian construction in the parts of Judea and Samaria designated as “Area C,” which are under full Israeli control.

Just because the members of the new coalition have agreed not to discuss this and other sticky topics doesn’t mean the Palestinians will play along and stop building. As such, the right-wing New Hope party insists the matter must be addressed, and that Lapid agreed with its prefered method of doing so.

According to New Hope’s no. 2, Ze’ev Elkin (pictured left), the coalition deal between his party and Lapid calls for the establishment of a special government body to deal with illegal Palestinian construction aimed at creating “facts on the ground” and thus securing control of Area C.

But Benny Gantz (pictured right), head of the centrist “Blue and White” party who will remain Minister of Defense in the new government, insists that the matter stay under his purview and in the hands of the defense establishment.

If New Hope’s demand is not met, Elkin warned that “the new government won’t be established.”

Under Israel’s electoral laws, the various deals made to cobble together a coalition cannot contradict one another. It would seem that perhaps Lapid was unable to fully adhere to that stipulation.

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