Israel faces the uncertainty of post-Netanyahu era

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting of the right-wing bloc at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on November 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2019

Israel faces the uncertainty of post-Netanyahu era

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rival Benny Gantz will now seek to encourage defections either from within the Likud party or from allied right-wing parties

AMMAN: It is unclear whether we are witnessing the final chapter of the era of Israel’s longest-standing prime minister but his days of glory appear to be over.

Dian Butto, a Palestinian American lawyer and former member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said that the era of Netanyahu as the sole ruler of Israeli politics is certainly over.

Butto, who is teaching international law at Harvard University, said that for the last few years the general thinking in Israel was that “there is no alternative to Netanyahu.”

Butto also expected that the demise of Netanyahu would be felt within his Likud party.

“Until recently elections slogans said that Netanyahu and the Likud is good for Israel and that Netanyahu and Trump are in a different league. But with Netanyahu gone politically the Likud party will be shaken to its core.”

International war

Mohammed Wattad, a senior analyst working on the Arabs 48 news site in Haifa, said that the days of calling Netanyahu the king of Israel are over, but his disappearance will not be immediate.

“True, the corruption indictment against Netanyahu ends the rule of the King of Israel, but he will continue to hold on to the seat of the prime minister as long as possible.”

Wattad said Netanyahu had created an international war within Israeli society by putting into question the very basis of the government’s social religious and political existence.

“Some analysts believe that the corruption that Netanyahu represents is much more threatening to Israeli society than the Iranian nuclear threat.”

However, Haifa University political science professor Michel Oun believed that it is too early to count Netanyahu out.

Immunity

“He has said he will continue in his position as long as he can and that he is the victim of a coup. I think the legal case will continue for three to four years and unless his immunity is lifted it will be impossible to remove him from his position as a member of Knesset until a judgment is made and enforced.”

Johnny Mansour, a Haifa-based historian and political science lecturer at Beit Berl College in Israel, said that Netanyahu will stay in the job and he listed five different scenarios for the future:

* he resigns and continues as head of a caretaker government

* 2/3 of the Knesset asks that his immunity be lifted, which is very difficult since he heads a coalition of 55 out of 120 members

* a coup takes place in the Likud and the party will collapse.

* a new war breaks possibly in the north and he will stay in power.

* in the absence of a coalition agreement a third election takes place.


Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

Updated 20 min 24 sec ago

Iranian hard-liners in parliament reject president’s nominee

  • According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries
  • Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian hard-liners in parliament on Wednesday voted against President Hassan Rouhani’s nominee for trade minister in the first showdown between the rival camps since the house resumed work in May despite the struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the parliament’s website, lawmakers rejected Hossein Modares Khiabani’s nomination for minister of trade and industries.
Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the vote was 140-104 against the nominee. There were 254 lawmakers at the session and 10 abstained. The parliament has 290 seats.
The vote marked the first serious confrontation between the newly elected house, dominated by conservatives and the bloc of supporters of the relatively moderate Rouhani. Under the law, Rouhani must introduce new nominees to his Cabinet in the next three months.
Rouhani in May dismissed the trade and industry minister at the time, Reza Rahmani, as Iran faced an unprecedented economic downturn amid intense pressure from the United States after President Donald Trump pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. Khiabani, 52, had since been the acting trade minister.
Iran is also grappling with the largest and deadliest outbreak of the coronavirus in the Middle East, with more than 331,000 confirmed cases and at least 18,800 deaths.