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The New Arab Staff

Israel coalition government deal may give Gantz power to 'veto' Netanyahu's West Bank annexation plans

Netanyahu and Gantz will trade in being prime ministers [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 July, 2020

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Benny Gantz, who has disapproved of the unilateral annexation of the occupied West Bank will be given extra powers to veto in a new agreement.
Israel is expected to ratify a system that gives prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz the same level of power, which could potentially dent Netanyahu's annexation plans.

Alternate prime minister Gantz fought Netanyahu tooth and nail in three inconclusive elections within 12 months.

The rivals eventually agreed on an unwieldy centre-right coalition with each man holding equal status and bearing the newly-minted title "alternate prime minister".

Gantz, a former army chief and opponent to Netanyahu's annexation plans, is under the terms of the coalition deal due to take over as prime minister in November 2021, with Netanyahu serving as his alternate.

According to Israel Hayom, both Netanyahu and Gantz will have equal powers in decision making, including on annexing the occupied West Bank. 

This means Netanyahu cannot put the annexation scheme to vote on it in the government without the approval of Gantz, who expressed his opposition to the unilateral implementation of the scheme.

The report said that despite Netanyahu is the prime minister, Gantz can prevent him from raising issues that there is no agreement for the government to endorse. 

Read more: Israeli annexation and a history of broken American promises

Later, if the rotation takes place and Netanyahu becomes the alternative prime minister, he will be able to prevent Gantz from making decisions that are not acceptable to him.

The report added that despite the initial coalition agreement excluding the annexation scheme from bilateral approval, this may change in the agreement on Sunday.

Netanyahu's coalition government had set 1 July as the date from which it could initiate action on US President Donald Trump's controversial "Deal of the Century" peace deal, which has been outright rejected by the Palestinian Authority.

The deal would allow Israel to annex one third of Palestinian land in the West Bank, something widely condemned by the international community and would make a viable independent Palestinian state unworkable.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Israel's plans to annex the West Bank have been denounced as an illegal violation of international law by world leaders as well as UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet.



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