Netanyahu To Build New Settler Homes In Sensitive West Bank Corridor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) checks the area map during a visit to the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank on February 24, 2020. Sebastian Scheiner / POOL / AFP


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to build 3,500 new settler homes in a super-sensitive area of the occupied West Bank, just a week before a tight general election.

Netanyahu’s controversial statement is the latest in a string of election promises on settlement construction as the premier faces not only a general election but the beginning of a corruption trial.

“I gave immediate instructions for a permit to deposit (plans) for the construction of 3,500 units in E1,” Netanyahu said.

The international community has warned repeatedly that Jewish settlement construction in the E1 corridor, which passes from Jerusalem to Jericho, would slice the West Bank in two and compromise the contiguity of a future Palestinian state.

“We are building Jerusalem and Jerusalem’s outskirts,” Netanyahu said at a conference in remarks relayed by a spokesman.

In 2013, Netanyahu vetoed construction in the E1 corridor in the face of pressure from the United Nations, the European Union and the United States.

The move to advance new homes, which would constitute a new neighbourhood of Maale Adumim, a nearby settlement town, were praised by the Yesha Council, a settler lobby group, which noted that plans for homes there have existed since 2004.

“Advancing the issue will enable broad and strategic construction between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem,” Yesha Council head David Elhayani said in a statement.

But Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, co-director of Jahalin Solidarity, an NGO working to prevent the displacement of Palestinian Bedouin living in the E1 area, said the construction could mean their forced expulsion and constitute a “war crime”.

“If allowed to go ahead, this move will end the potential for a viable, sustainable Palestinian state, and is yet another example of how desperate Bibi (Netanyahu) is to buy votes so as to stay out of prison at the expense of our future,” she said.

On Thursday, Netanyahu announced plans for thousands of new homes for Israelis in annexed east Jerusalem, with critics calling the move a last-minute incentive to nationalist voters ahead of next week’s election.

On Monday, Israeli authorities moved ahead with those plans, inviting tenders for 1,077 housing units for Givat Hamatos, which would be a new settlement neighbourhood.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now said the Givat Hamatos area was “the last point enabling territorial continuity between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem,” saying that the plan to build there was proof Netanyahu was “doing everything to prevent peace”.

Israel seized east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank are considered illegal by the United Nations and most foreign governments.

Netanyahu, 70, will stand trial next month after being indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

He denies wrongdoing but the indictment has complicated his bid to extend his tenure as Israel’s longest serving prime minister.

Two elections in April and September last year failed to produce a clear winner.

Recent polls are forecasting another tight race between Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and the centrist Blue and White party led by former armed forces chief Benny Gantz.


Netanyahu Warns Of ‘Resounding Blow’ If Iran Attacks Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a press conference regarding his intention to file a request to the Knesset for immunity from prosecution, in Jerusalem on January 1, 2020.
GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP Inset Iran Top General Major General Qasem Soleimani


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Wednesday that Israel would strike a “resounding blow” if attacked by arch-foe Iran, as regional tensions soar after the US killing of a top Iranian general.

“Anyone who attacks us will receive a resounding blow,” the premier told a Jerusalem conference after Iran launched a salvo of retaliatory missile strikes on bases used by US troops in Iraq.

Netanyahu has described the target of last week’s US drone strike — Major General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards foreign operations arm — as a “terrorist-in-chief”.

“Qasem Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of countless innocent people, he destabilised many countries for decades, he sowed fear and misery and anguish and he was planning much worse,” Netanyahu said.

“He was the architect and driver of Iran’s campaign of terror throughout the Middle East and the world.”

The Israeli premier praised US President Donald Trump for “acting swiftly, boldly, and resolutely” in killing Soleimani in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The drone strike has put the United States and key allies on alert for Tehran’s response to the killing.

A senior Iranian official on Monday warned the Israeli cities of Haifa and Tel Aviv would be turned “to dust” if Washington carried out further military action in response to its retaliatory moves.

Corruption Charges: Israel’s Netanyahu Asks Parliament For Immunity

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on December 1, 2019.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asked parliament for immunity, weeks after the embattled premier was indicted on a range of corruption charges.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, is fighting for his political survival on two fronts — the corruption allegations and stiff opposition from a new centrist party.

The immunity request is expected to delay the start of court proceedings for months, as lawmakers are not due to vote on the matter until after March 2 elections.

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The request is “in line with the law… (and) with the goal of continuing to serve you, for the future of Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem.

His spokesman Ofer Golan later confirmed the request had been submitted to the speaker of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Netanyahu was charged by the attorney general in November with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases.

The leader of the right-wing Likud party denies the allegations and accuses prosecutors and the media of a witch hunt.

Reacting to the premier’s announcement, his rival Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White party, said “Netanyahu knows that he is guilty.”

Gantz said his own party will do everything it can to “prevent immunity”.

“In Israel, nobody is above the law”.

A sitting prime minister is only required to step down once convicted and after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

‘Only The People Decide’

But legal experts have asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether a premier can be tasked by the president with forming a new government while under indictment.

A panel of three judges began looking into the matter on Tuesday, and said they would make a ruling at a later time, without giving a date.

Netanyahu has described the legal initiative as a trap.

But “I don’t for a moment think that Israel’s Supreme Court will fall into this trap. In a democracy, only the people decide who will lead them, and nobody else,” Netanyahu said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Allegations against the premier include receiving gifts worth thousands of dollars and offering to change regulations in exchange for positive media coverage.

Despite his legal woes, Netanyahu remains popular within Likud and last week secured a landslide victory in a leadership challenge.

He saw off a bid to wrest control of the party by one-time interior minister Gideon Saar, winning with 72.5 percent of Likud members’ ballots, compared with 27.5 percent for the challenger.

The result strengthened his position in a party he has dominated for 20 years, with Netanyahu calling it a “huge win”.

Saar launched his bid after the premier failed to cobble together a governing coalition in the wake of two general elections in 2019 — one held in April, the second in September.

He said his challenge was “not because of the Likud’s ideas”, but because a failure to change leadership would bring the risk of a left-wing government.

Likud and the Blue and White party were deadlocked in April and September, necessitating a third national poll within a year.

The premier has vowed to win the March general election, although early opinion polls indicate the vote could result in yet another stalemate.


Netanyahu Can Stay On As PM Despite Indictment, Says Attorney General


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can stay on in his post although he has been indicted on corruption charges, Israel’s attorney general said Monday.

Avichai Mandelblit, in a statement, said: “there are no legal obligations for the prime minister to resign”.

Under Israeli law, while ministers cannot keep their posts after an indictment, a prime minister is not legally required to step down unless convicted and with all appeals exhausted.

But the embattled premier has faced calls to resign from several politicians since Mandelblit last Thursday charged him with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

READ ALSO: Defiant Netanyahu Rejects Graft Indictment, Vows To Stay

The indictment comes as Israel edges closer to its third general election in a year, after two inconclusive polls in April and September, with Netanyahu and centrist rival Benny Gantz unable to form a government.

Gantz’s Blue and White party won one more seat than Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud in the September polls.

Parliament now has less than three weeks to find a candidate who can gain the support of more than half of the Knesset’s 120 lawmakers, or a deeply unpopular third election will be called.

Netanyahu remains the country’s interim premier.

Defiant Netanyahu Rejects Graft Indictment, Vows To Stay

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at his Likud Party headquarters in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on election night early on April 10, 2019. Thomas COEX / AFP


A defiant Benjamin Netanyahu rejected all allegations of graft Thursday, vowing to stay on as the leader in Israel despite being indicted on a series of corruption charges.

Netanyahu denounced what he called the “false” and “politically motivated” allegations, hours after being charged by the attorney general with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust.

“What is going on here is an attempt to stage a coup against the prime minister,” Netanyahu said.

READ ALSO: Netanyahu Indicted For Bribery, Fraud And Breach Of Trust

“The object of the investigations was to oust the right-wing from government.”

In a 15-minute speech, Netanyahu railed against his political rivals and state institutions, accusing the police and judiciary of bias.

The veteran politician argued that it was time for an “investigation of the investigators”.

He vowed to continue as prime minister despite potential court dates and intense political pressure.

“I will continue to lead this country, according to the letter of the law,” he said.

“I will not allow lies to win.”

Netanyahu To Meet Putin Days Before Israel Vote

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is pictured with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow./AFP


Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday, just five days ahead of an April 9 Israeli general election, the premier’s office said.

Netanyahu has held a series of meetings with foreign leaders in the runup to the vote, helping him further his argument that he is Israel’s irreplaceable statesman.

His office did not provide further details in its brief statement on the meeting on Tuesday.

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Israel and Russia coordinate their military activity in Syria to avoid accidental clashes.

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against what it says are Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria.

It has pledged to keep its main enemy Iran from entrenching itself militarily in the neighbouring country.

In the civil war that erupted in Syria in 2011, Russia has been backing President Bashar al-Assad’s forces alongside Iran and Tehran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.

A friendly fire incident in September that led to Syrian air defences downing a Russian plane during an Israeli raid angered the Kremlin, which blamed Israel.

Netanyahu and Putin held their first extensive face-to-face discussions since the friendly fire incident in Moscow on February 27.

The two have spoken repeatedly by phone in recent months, including on Monday.

The Israeli premier is currently hosting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who arrived in Israel for a three-day visit on Sunday.

He also recently hosted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and last week met US President Donald Trump in Washington.

Netanyahu is facing a tough election challenge from centrist former military chief Benny Gantz.

Israel Is Arabs’ ‘Ally’ Against Iran, Says Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/ AFP


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries viewed Israel as an “indispensable ally” fighting Iran and the Islamic State group.

That evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio, has caused “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.”

The comments came as Israel has stepped up air strikes on Iranian positions in neighboring Syria, and as Israel digested an abrupt decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons to destroy his country.

Israel, he said, had shown itself to be active in battling “radical Islam, violent Islam — either the one led by radical Shiites led by Iran or the one led by the radical Sunnis led by Daesh (IS) and Al-Qaeda.”

“Unfortunately we have not made any advance with the Palestinians. Half of them are already under the gun of Iran and of radical Islam,” Netanyahu added.

Asked if he could ever contemplate sitting down with an Iranian leader to talk peace, Netanyahu replied: “If Iran remains committed to our destruction the answer is no.”

The only way, he said, would be “if Iran undergoes a total transformation.”

Netanyahu was in Brazil to attend Tuesday’s inauguration of the Latin American country’s new, pro-Israel president, Jair Bolsonaro.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, Netanyahu was to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also among the visiting dignitaries.

They were expected to discuss the US troop pullout from Syria and Iranian activities in the Middle East.


Netanyahu Hails ‘New Era’ With Brazil

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu/ AFP


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed what he said would be a “new era” in ties with “great power” Brazil ahead of meeting Friday with the Latin America’s country’s incoming far-right leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

Netanyahu also stressed that he would press Bolsonaro on an announcement — since walked back — that Brazil would follow the United States in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“The president-elect (Bolsonaro) announced he would (transfer the embassy). You can be certain I will speak with him about that in our first meeting,” Netanyahu, speaking Hebrew, told reporters on his flight before it landed in Rio de Janeiro.

Netanyahu was to meet Bolsonaro for lunch in Rio on Friday on what was the first-ever visit to Brazil by an Israeli prime minister.

He will be one of the most prominent leaders attending Bolsonaro’s swearing-in on Tuesday in the capital Brasilia.

Other VIPs who will be there include Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Bolsonaro and his team have excluded the leaders of leftwing-ruled nations Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua from the inauguration.

 Meeting Pompeo 

Netanyahu was making the Brazil trip despite domestic political turmoil in Israel and a spike in military volatility in neighboring Syria.

Pompeo and Netanyahu are to discuss Syria while in Brasilia, an Israeli official and the US State Department said.

US allies including Israel were caught by surprise by President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement last week that he was pulling US troops out of Syria, where Israel’s arch-foe Iran has built up a significant military and political presence. Israel has made several aerial strikes in Syria against positions held by Iran and its Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Domestically, Netanyahu is maneuvering to extend his reign in Israel despite a slew of corruption allegations. On Wednesday, Israel’s parliament approved a government decision to call early elections for April 9.

Both Netanyahu and Bolsonaro admire Trump and are keen to forge closer relations between their countries. Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US president and Bolsonaro were “like-minded” individuals.

Netanyahu said Bolsonaro represented a “big change” for Brazil, which for decades had center-left and center-right governments that aligned with international consensus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the status of Jerusalem. In 2010 the country recognized a Palestinian state.

Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians see eastern Jerusalem as the capital of its future state.

Embassy decision 

After his October election, Bolsonaro reaffirmed an election promise to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, earning praise at the time from Netanyahu, who called it a “historic” announcement.

But Bolsonaro later backtracked by saying “it hasn’t been decided yet.” An embassy transfer could put at risk lucrative Brazilian poultry and halal meat exports to Arab countries.

Flying in to see Bolsonaro and raise the embassy issue, Netanyahu was laudatory.

Brazil, he said, “is an immense country with enormous potential for Israel from an economic, security and diplomatic point of view.”

He added: “We are happy to be able to start a new era between Israel and a great power called Brazil.”

His visit includes a day off on Saturday to observe Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

Netanyahu is to fly back to Israel early on January 2, an Israeli official said.

The Israeli prime minister also serves as his country’s foreign minister. Last year he visited Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.


Israeli Premier’s Son Blocked On Facebook For Anti-Muslim Posts

Facebook Faces 'Oppenheimer Moment' Over Trump Scandal


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eldest, Yair, tweeted on Sunday that Facebook blocked his page for 24 hours over apparent anti-Muslim posts and called the leading social network a “dictatorship”.

In a message posted Thursday on his Facebook page after deadly Palestinian attacks, Yair Netanyahu had called for “all Muslims (to) leave” Israel.

“Do you know where there are no attacks? In Iceland and in Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims,” the prime minister’s son wrote.

In another post, he wrote that there were only two possible solutions for peace, either “all Jews leave (Israel) or all Muslims leave”.

“I prefer the second option,” he added.

His comments came after two soldiers were shot dead on Thursday at a central West Bank bus station near a settlement.

On the same day, a baby prematurely delivered after his mother was shot and wounded in a separate attack nearby on December 9 also died.

Facebook deleted Yair Netanyahu’s posts, prompting him to take to Twitter to criticise the social networking giant, calling it a “dictatorship of thought”.

Critics of the prime minister have often attacked Yair as a grown man living in the premier’s residence despite having no official role and benefitting from a bodyguard, a driver and other perks.

They say the parents of the 27-year-old are grooming him for future political power in an attempt to establish a ruling dynasty.


Netanyahu Vows To Find Attackers After Israeli Newborn Dies

File Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFPcohen


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to find Palestinian gunmen behind a West Bank attack, after a baby delivered prematurely following the shooting died.

The baby’s mother was one of seven people wounded in the drive-by shooting at a bus stop near the Ofra settlement in the occupied West Bank late Sunday.

She was 30-weeks pregnant and the baby was delivered by caesarean section at a Jerusalem hospital.

“We lost a few hours ago a newborn baby, four days old,” Netanyahu said in an address to foreign media.

“We will find the killers, we haven’t stopped searching. We will find them and bring them to justice,” he said, as the army and security services continued their search.

US peace envoy Jason Greenblatt said in a Twitter message that the death was “absolutely heartbreaking”.

“My thoughts & prayers are with the family of the baby who died today as a result of the despicable terror attack on Sunday,” he wrote. “This is an attack Hamas praised as ‘heroic'”.

The Islamist Hamas movement, which runs the Gaza Strip, saluted the shooting and in a statement said it proved “resistance” was still alive in the West Bank.

Following the attack, the 21-year-old mother was reported as stable, but the Shaare Zedek hospital said Monday that her baby had taken a turn for the worse.

The child died “despite the medical efforts of the premature baby unit to save him,” the hospital said on Wednesday.

The others wounded in the attack were not in life-threatening condition.

Palestinian attacks against Israelis occur sporadically in the West Bank.

Sunday’s shooting north of Jerusalem was the most serious attack in the West Bank since October 7, when Palestinian Ashraf Naalwa shot two Israelis dead in an industrial zone for a nearby settlement.

Israel’s Netanyahu Hails UN Hamas Vote Despite Defeat

Migrants In Israel To Resettle In Canada, Germany, Italy – Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press in his Jerusalem office on April 2, 2018. Menahem KAHANA / AFP


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday hailed majority backing in the UN General Assembly for condemning militant group Hamas even though a draft resolution failed to win enough votes to pass.

The US draft won 87 votes in the General Assembly on Thursday compared to 58 against but fell short of a required two-thirds majority.

Thirty-two countries abstained.

“The draft condemnation of Hamas in the UN General Assembly received a sweeping majority by countries that stood against Hamas,” Netanyahu said in an English-language statement.

“This is the first time that a majority of countries have voted against Hamas and I commend each of the 87 countries that took a principled stand.

“I thank the American administration and US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley for the initiative.”

Haley, who steps down from her post at the end of the year, has repeatedly accused the United Nations of having an anti-Israel bias.

She has defended Israel in its latest confrontation with Hamas, the Islamist group which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and has fought three wars with Israel since then.

The United States had won crucial backing from the European Union, with all 28 countries supporting the draft that would have condemned Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and demanded an end to the violence.

The European Union, like the United States, blacklists Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

It was the first draft resolution condemning Hamas to be presented to the 193-nation assembly, which has been meeting since 1946.

Hamas praised the outcome of the vote, describing it as a “slap” to President Donald Trump’s administration.

“The failure of the American venture at the United Nations represents a slap to the US administration and confirmation of the legitimacy of the resistance,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri tweeted, referring to militant groups that oppose Israel.


Netanyahu Avoids Israeli Snap Polls

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during a meeting with French Economy Minister and entrepreneurs at the French Economy Ministry in Paris on June 6, 2018. ERIC PIERMONT / AFP


A key Israeli minister said Monday he will not quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for now despite sharp disagreements, handing the premier a victory and potentially ending a crisis that has threatened to provoke snap elections.

The announcement by Education Minister Naftali Bennett was a dramatic climbdown from his Jewish Home party’s earlier threat to leave the coalition if he was not named defence minister.

Netanyahu has refused to give the high-profile post to Bennett, one of his main political rivals, despite the coalition crisis threatening to topple his government following a controversial Gaza ceasefire.

Bennett, whose far-right party holds eight seats in parliament, said he would give Netanyahu time to correct course on a range of issues as he pushed for an even more hawkish approach toward the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s current coalition is already seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history.

“If the prime minister is serious in his intentions, and I want to believe his words from last night, I am saying here to the prime minister we are removing at this moment all of our political demands and will help you in the huge mission of making Israel win again,” Bennett said in a statement to journalists broadcast live on television.

He acknowledged the backlash he may face for backing down from the earlier ultimatum.

“It’s better that the prime minister beats me in a political battle than (Hamas leader Ismail) Haniya beats Israel,” Bennett said in a parliamentary committee room packed with journalists.

Bennett’s comments followed an impassioned address to the nation on Sunday night by Netanyahu.

Netanyahu said he would retain the defence portfolio for now and seek to convince coalition partners to remain in the government.

He said calling early elections would be “irresponsible” due to what he described as a complicated security situation facing the country.

He did not explain why Israel’s security concerns would be more complex now than at other times, saying he could not publicly describe in detail the sensitive moves being taken.

Netanyahu also defended his security credentials, seeking to hit back at criticism of last week’s ceasefire that ended the worst escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since a 2014 war.

On Monday at the parliament’s foreign and defence committee, Netanyahu repeated some of those arguments, saying “we’re in the midst of a battle that hasn’t ended yet.”

‘Back to winning’ 

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation last week over the ceasefire threw the government into crisis.

After Lieberman’s withdrawal along with his Yisrael Beitenu party, Netanyahu’s government was left clinging to a one-seat majority in parliament.

Key coalition partners had said that was unworkable even though elections are not due until November 2019, but Netanyahu has been in discussions aimed at staving off an early vote.

Bennett hit back at Netanyahu’s argument that Israel was in an especially complicated security situation, saying the country has always faced threats and managed to overcome them.

At the same time, he accused Netanyahu of leading a defeatist defence policy.

“What’s most dangerous to Israel is that we’ve begun thinking there’s no solution to terror — to terrorists, to rockets, that there’s nothing to do,” Bennett said.

“When Israel wants to win, we’ll go back to winning.”

Netanyahu has defended the ceasefire and his backers say he and his security chiefs are on the same page when it comes to Gaza.

Many analysts question the wisdom of starting another war in the Gaza Strip without a strategy for how it will end.

But Lieberman labelled the ceasefire “capitulating to terror” when he resigned on Wednesday and Bennett says he disagreed with it as well.

Israeli residents of southern communities hit by barrages of rockets from Gaza last week have also protested, calling for tough action against Hamas, with which Israel has fought three wars since 2008.

A poll published after the ceasefire found 74 percent of respondents were unhappy with Netanyahu’s handling of the escalation with Gaza and its Islamist rulers Hamas, though it also showed his party would still easily win the most seats.

Many analysts believe Netanyahu would like to buy more time before heading toward elections to allow him to move on from the Gaza ceasefire.

A range of other issues on the agenda could also threaten to topple the government before November.

Shmuel Sandler, political studies professor at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said Gaza will nevertheless play an important role.

“If it quiets down and there’s some movement forward to a (longer-term) ceasefire, then the government will hold together,” he said. “If not, it will fall apart.”