The Joint List will not recommend that Blue & White [Kahol-Lavan] leader MK Benny Gantz form the next government unless he makes a clear statement against the annexation of occupied West Bank settlements, said MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), the chairman of the Joint List on Tuesday, February 11.
Odeh told an interviewer, “If we don’t hear a very clear statement from him [Gantz] against transfer and annexation, there’s no way we will recommend him” to the president. “I want to hear from Gantz in the most explicit terms that he opposes a transfer” of Arab citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state by redrawing Israel’s border, said Odeh. “They [Blue & White] are silent about the attack on the Arab population, Netanyahu’s attack. Let Gantz say something. Does he think that we’re in his pocket?”
Odeh also ruled out joining or supporting any government that includes racist MK Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party. “We have nothing in common with Lieberman,” said Odeh. “We are as far as possible from him. There is no way that we will support any government that includes Lieberman.”
After the release of US imperialist “Deal of the Century” on January 28, Gantz said the plan “faithfully reflects the basic principles written in Blue & White’s platform.” “This is a historic opportunity to shape Israel’s borders and future,” said Gantz. “As prime minister, I will work to implement the plan in all its steps.”
Gantz also explicitly ruled out on Tuesday, February 11, including the predominantly Arab Joint List in any future coalition. “I am not afraid to speak with any legitimate political party, but the Joint List will not be part of the government I form,” he said. “My disagreements with its leadership on national and security issues are deep, difficult and unbridgeable.”
While in the wake of the September elections the Joint List recommended to President Reuven Rivlin that Gantz be given the first opportunity to form a ruling coalition, without support from the Joint List after March 2, Gantz is arithmetically unlikely to have enough MKs behind him to get the presidential nod.
According to the Haaretz editorial published on Wednesday, February12, “Remarks Tuesday night by Blue & White chief Benny Gantz are a slap in the face to democratic Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike – who yearn for a change in Israel’s dangerous political direction. Evidently, Gantz is not living up to the challenge and has given up on a Jewish-Arab partnership. It is very possible that by rejecting a partnership with the Arabs, Gantz has slammed the door on the possibility of forming a government that would replace the Netanyahu regime.”