Unity coalition formed as a new government of Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his new unity government to parliament yesterday, ending more than a year of political deadlock but still facing a trial starting in a week for alleged corruption.
His power-sharing agreement with former election rival, centrist Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, opens the way for the right-wing Netanyahu to proceed towards a pledged de facto annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, land Palestinians seek for a state.
Under his accord with Gantz, after three inconclusive elections, Netanyahu will remain prime minister for 18 months before handing over to his new partner.
Gantz, a former armed forces chief, will be defense minister and “alternate prime minister,” a new position that Netanyahu will hold when Gantz is in charge.
By assuming that “alternate” premiership once he hands over to Gantz, Netanyahu hopes to avoid having to resign under legal rules that allow a prime minister to remain in office even if charged with a crime.
Netanyahu, 70, goes on trial on May 24.