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After yearlong deadlock, Israel’s unity government to be sworn in

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After yearlong deadlock, Israel’s unity government to be sworn in

netanyahu gantz
Photo: Elad Malka

Israel’s new unity government, formed between centrist Benny Gantz and right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu, will be sworn in today after a year of deadlock that saw three inconclusive elections.

Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for 18 months before handing the position over to Gantz, who will serve a term of equal length, with each having veto power over the other.

One issue the leaders are keen to agree on is US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to visit Israel in the upcoming week to discuss moving forward with the initiative. Part of the plan supports Israel’s annexation of its West Bank settlements, including the entirety of Jerusalem. The Trump administration insists that the plan will be implemented under the condition that Israel “enters negotiations” with Palestinian leaders, despite the latter’s current refusal to discuss the matter due to the plan’s inequity.

The plan has drawn condemnation from the international community—annexation violates laws barring the settlement of lands conquered in wartime, as outlined by the Geneva Convention. Should the annexation go ahead, expect a new chapter to be written in the Israel-Palestine conflict as Israeli control is likely to be cemented in the occupied territories, diminishing the viability of a two-state solution. These developments invite the strong possibility of violent retaliation from Palestinian militant groups, especially on Friday’s Nakba Day, which commemorates Palestinian displacement during Israel’s fight for independence.

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