PALM Strategic Initiative Centre

Dec 08, 2022 10:52 am
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Israeli sources stated that Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party, had reached an agreement with the Religious Zionism Party -led by Smotrich- and Otzma Yehudit Party -led by Ben Gvir- to participate in the next Israeli government after agreeing on powers granted to both parties. Likud also announced an agreement with the Shas parties and Yahudat HaTora, but the signing of the last two agreements is still pending. This would thus end the political vacuum of the occupation entity, which had undergone 5 parliamentary elections during three years and a half.

New agreements between Likud and Zionist right-wing parties give great power to influence the form of the next government and gives it the right to act on important positions, particularly in the occupied West Bank, from the identification of civil administration leaders and the Coordinator's Office. They were named exclusively through the Army Chief of Staff and with the approval of the Ministry of Security, in addition to extensive powers to expand and annex settlements, develop Negev and Galilee and formulate security behavior through fire orders, while Shas and Yehudit HaTora parties grant financial budgets and preferential benefits that are still disputed to date.

It is expected that Netanyahu will demand expanding the government formation period which will end on Saturday evening after two weeks to end the pending files with Shas and Yehudit HaTora parties following the call to vote to select the President of the Knesset in a way that paves the way for the adaptation of laws to accommodate the participation of Aryeh Deri and to curtail the Supreme Court's powers to overturn Knesset laws.  

On the other side, this agreement had a heavy criticism. Prime Minister Lapid stated that: "Netanyahu sold the Israeli army to the National Haredi", while the Defence Minister Benny Gantz announced that what was happening was a dismantling of the army and this agreement must be prevented. The Justice Minister Gideon Sa'aar considered Netanyahu's agreement as a "dangerous plan to turn the judges into convicted and to elect judges as a political appointee that would target Israeli citizens rights and the national interest of the State".



Reading and Analysis of the Scene

  • The current agreements confuse the political scene. They withdraw the army's powers in favor of the religious parties, which is highly criticized by the army commanders, especially Gadi Eisenkot, Aviv Kokkhavi and finally the incoming army chief Herzi Halevi, who promises not to allow to break up the army.
  • The far-right orientations of the upcoming government threaten the occupation's relationship internationally. The appearance of the extremist elements in the administration and policy of the government will lead to wide criticism, particularly with the European Union and the United States Administration.
  • Likud seeks, through speeding up the selection of a new Knesset President, to make it easy to pass the needed laws to build its coalitions which are still stuck and amend the laws to serve the new form in which Netanyahu seeks to build government according to him.

Situation Report: Based on the previous analysis and scene reading, the expected scenarios are:

  1.  Benjamin Netanyahu might succeed in building the coalition, according to agreements with the far-right religious parties, in a way that enforces the current conflict on the powers and influence on the traditional institutions structure in the entity whether ministries or the army. This scenario strengthens the preliminary consensus on the powers granted to the coalition parties.
  2. The Netanyahu government might fail to reach a final agreement that guarantees the success of the voting in favor of the government. This scenario enforces the many conflicts and details in the agreement. 
  3. A new united government might be built with the parties of the Central and Left Parties in the event of the absence of the ability to implement agreements with the rightest religious parties. This scenario is supported in case the National Religious Party or Yesh Atid Party expressed a desire to participate in the government with Netanyahu.

In general, all scenarios remain are verifiable, with preference for the first scenario in a way that gives the right-wing a priority in the political scene during the upcoming period.