Israel to Begin Talks to Select PM Monday

Saul Bowman
April 14, 2019

As Breitbart News reported, the congratulations came in the wake of the Central Elections Committee announcement late Thursday night, with all of the votes counted, checked and rechecked, that showed Mr. Netanyahu's Likud party capturing a total of 36 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, compared to 35 seats for its main rival, the centrist Blue and White party. Whilst this does not appear to have damaged his results in the election, it could seriously compromise his future, forcing him to dedicate precious time and efforts to emerging unscathed from the bribery, fraud and breach of trust cases opened against him by the attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit. As long as he remains in power, Netanyahu has leverage in talks with coalition partners - although his need for protection also empowers other parties as they try to forge a government. Voters blamed divisions between Arab factions which had united in the previous election, disillusionment, and a voting boycott campaign rooted in dismay at the 2018 "nation-state" law declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel.

Israel would likely point to the divided Palestinian leadership and accuse them of scuttling Trump's plan.

In a rare turn during the race toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu further alarmed Palestinians by pledging to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank if re-elected.

In addition, Netanyahu himself, in his eagerness to rally votes, has made promises that he will find hard to keep without also endangering national interests.

Netanyahu highlighted his close relationship with President Donald Trump, who delighted Israelis and angered Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017 and moving the U.S. Embassy to the holy city last May.

What makes Mr. Trump's pro-Netanyahu actions unique, Mr. Miller says, is how they are designed as much for USA domestic impact as to further US goals in the Middle East.

Netanyahu will rely in part on politicians of the nationalist right opposed to a Palestinian state to put together his government.

Every ruling party faces challenges after a decade in power - voter fatigue is nearly inescapable - but Netanyahu's future has been clouded by allegations of corruption, charges he denies.

JERUSALEM-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured a clear path to re-election on Wednesday, April 10, with parties on the right set to hand him a parliamentary majority and his main challenger conceding defeat.

Netanyahu will be under major pressure to give in to their demands. Most analysts and even Trump administration officials say Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal - which offered sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu tweeted that Trump had called him from Air Force One. "Our fear is that such unilateral steps - whether from Israelis or Palestinians - would push the parties farther from a final, negotiated settlement".

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