This Live Blog will be regularly updated with Israeli political news through the upcoming elections and the formation of a new government in Israel. Also See The Monthly News Blogs.
23 Jun: The approval of the construction of 7,000 housing units yesterday – to placate the Settler Movement – was preparation for a building freeze from here on. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the United States at this week’s talks that he would freeze the publication of tenders for new building projects in West Bank settlements through the end of 2017. The coalition is in what may be one of its last crisis as angry Settler politicians threatened to pressure Netanyahu to rescind the decision, which would prevent workers from breaking ground on new housing projects.
Israeli far right claims they forced Netanyahu to approve construction of 7,000 units.
20 Jun: Netanyahu laying groundwork for election call.
Despite Netanyahu’s attempts to pacify his far right supporters they are accusing him of holding up settler construction and bringing yet another coalition crisis to Israel.
28 May, 2017: Israeli’s hold massive peace demonstration in Tel Aviv. Rally seeks to unite peace oriented opposition to Israeli far right extremists for next election. The rally is in preparation for the July 4 Labor Party Convention and putting together a revamped Zionist Union to take on Bibi and Likud. Part of the plan is to seek an alliance with Yesh Atid to guarantee electoral victory.
President Trump is waiting for further advances against the Islamic State before presenting his Mideast Peace initiative in the coming weeks. Once the peace initiative is ready Netanyahu is expected to dissolve the government and call elections, seeking a stronger mandate and delaying peace talks for four months while attacking Gaza and Hezbollah – with US / Arab help against Iran – to reset regional realities ahead of the talks.
The peace oriented parties are working to replace Netanyahu and carry out a genuine dialogue for peace. Bibi wants to present himself as Mr. Security and the great victor, but the ravages and costs of war may bring his downfall.
2017, May 21
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 68, was officially declared the winner of Friday’s presidential election with a landslide victory of 57 percent against his rival, Ebrahim Raisi, cleric and protégée of the hardliners. Turnout was more than 70 percent. However the nation is still primarily controlled by the Revolutionary Guards over which Rouhani has no control.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that the centerpiece of the present Trump trip was to curb any threats to the region posed by Iran. He said that the military and private sector deals agreed during the trip send a “strong message to our common enemies.”
In a joint address with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Al-Jubayr, Tillerson hailed a “historic moment” in US-Saudi relations. Announced hours earlier were a $109 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and $350 billion in direct U.S. investment over 10 years. He said the new defense deal — which includes upgrades to Saudi communications, missile defense, maritime, border and cyber security — lowers the demands on the US military. “We have to defeat ISIS on the battlefield, but we really have to defeat ISIS in cyberspace,”
In addition to the ISIS fight, the deal is opening the way for an attack to obliterate the Revolutionary Guards in Iran during the long planned regional Mideast war.
The deal against Iran was sealed by the billions of Saudi purchases from the US to save Trump politically in America, and calls for Israel to place a cap on Israeli construction in the occupied territories in exchange for an alliance against Iran. Trump will visit Israel on Monday and Tuesday and make it clear to Netanyahu that Israel must accept the deal for the greater good and will not be allowed to sabotage the greater plan.
Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) on Saturday evening gave Netanyahu four red lines to save the coalition.
- According to Hebrew-language newspaper Israel Hayom, the first condition is that there will be no building freeze in Judea and Samaria.
- The second condition is that Israel not agree to any one-sided concessions, and the third is that none of the imprisoned terrorists are released.
- Bennett’s fourth condition is that Jerusalem remain undivided and off the negotiating table in any peace talks.
The Israeli far right coalition conditions clash strongly with the Trump / Arab deal and bring Israel into another coalition crisis.
17 May: Trump to twist arms and push plan for Israeli co0nstruction cap in occupied territories on May 22-23 visit. Then after Trump leaves, the Israeli and Palestinian cabinets will debate approving holding talks before Trump can call a summit to launch any peace talks. Will the Israeli coalition collapse due to far right resistance? or will the government collapse over a partial freeze on illegal construction?
7 May: After weeks of talks in Washington with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators a deal has been reached – under US pressure – to start Mideast peace talks after the looming regional war. Trump discussed details in his meeting with president Abbas on 3 May and made plans to visit the region. The Israeli’s tried their best to prevent the trip by claiming the time was not right but did not dare to ask that the visit be postponed.
Trump plans to meet leaders from across the Islamic world in Saudi Arabia to get their endorsement on May 19, before visiting Jerusalem and Bethlehem on May 22 – 23 to talk with Netanyahu and Abbas on starting Mideast peace talks. The Jesuit trained Trump will then visit the Vatican before the NATO Summit in Brussels on May 25th and capping it off with a G7 meet in Sicily on May 26.
If the Israeli’s cannot dissuade Trump from announcing peace talks, Netanyahu will have little choice but to agree. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday declared his support for US President Donald Trump’s efforts to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, ahead of a visit to the region by the American leader.
The Israeli Far Right parties this time led by Kulanu are currently pushing for a massive Jerusalem building project to celebrate the anniversary of the Six Day War.
As part of the celebrations the Housing and Construction Ministry has proposed the construction of some 25,000 new housing units in Jerusalem, including more than 15,000 in neighborhoods liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
According to the proposed plan, 10,000 new units would be built in the capital’s western neighborhoods, along with 15,000 in neighborhoods built after 1967, including Pisgat Zeev and Gilo.
The project would end hopes for Trump’s plans to start Mideast peace talks and Trump is adamant on the May 22 Summit date to get the talks agreed before the construction project is announced in early June. The far right parties in the Israeli coalition are highly unlikely to accept any construction freeze or cap, putting the governing coalition in crisis once again.
The deal on the table will include a freeze or cap on illegal Jewish construction. The big question is whether such a situation will bring down the Israeli government with the far right extremist parties walking away and forcing elections?
2017, 28 Apr:
After a meeting with Palestinian President Abbas on 3 May, and subject to approval by the Palestinian and Israeli cabinets, US President Donald Trump is now tentatively scheduled to take part in a Jerusalem summit with Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas on May 22nd.
Subject to approval by the cabinets of Israel and Palestine the summit is intended to announce a new round of Mideast peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel plans huge celebrations this year on the anniversary of the Jun 67, Six Day War, which could inflame the region.
As part of the celebrations the Housing and Construction Ministry has proposed the construction of some 25,000 new housing units in Jerusalem, including more than 15,000 in in neighborhoods liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.
According to the proposed plan, 10,000 new units would be built in the capital’s western neighborhoods, along with 15,000 in neighborhoods built after 1967, including Pisgat Zeev and Gilo.
It is hard to imagine that the cabinet would agree to a construction freeze after approving a four billion shekel ($1.1 billion) building plan being pushed by Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu).
Once the Israeli government does fall either in May or at some other time, Israel is expected to invade Gaza, ultimately leading to war with Hezbollah and the American coalition demolishing the Revolutionary Guards in Iran.
These victories along with regime change in Syria and the election of a new peace oriented Israeli government; will then set the conditions for a genuine peace dialogue in the region
30 MARCH: Breakthrough in Broadcasting crisis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon reached a compromise over the future of Israel’s new public broadcasting cooperation, ending a coalition crisis that has threatened to bring down the government and force new elections.
According to the deal, the corporation which was set to begin transmission on April 30 will be delayed a few weeks, but it will lose its news division.
A separate broadcast entity will be established to deal with all state-funded current affairs / news offerings. “The public affairs / news department of public broadcasting which is funded by public funds, will be a separate entity composed mainly of broadcasting authority employees.
This means that the coalition will continue tottering along until either it falls before the coming regional war, or falls after the regional war over peace talks.
Once the Islamic State has been substantially degraded and is at the point of collapse, Israel plans to invade Gaza and demolish Hezbollah with American help against Iran.
It may still take several months to demolish the Islamic State before the Israeli regional war can be launched. After that war unfolds the Trump peace initiative will kick in and a genuine dialogue for peace will begin.
Then when a peace deal is declared as achieved as per 1 Thess 5:3; the tribulation will immediately begin with the fall of Jerusalem (Mat 24:15).
This far right Israeli government cannot hold genuine peace talks, therefor there are three possible political outcomes for the present Israeli government:
- A change in the coalition makeup with far right parties leaving and centrist parties joining the government,
- An election call before the war with the vote after the war, or,
- An election after the war when the Israeli government is forced to deal with the Trump peace initiative.
29 MARCH: Netanyahu and Kalon met for the fourth time so far this week but there was no progress in resolving their deadlock.
Because of the approaching April 30 startup of the disputed New Broadcasting Authority and the Passover Unleavened Bread Feast, a deadline of April 5 has been set for a resolution of the Israeli coalition crises, after which, if there is no agreement, the Knesset will be recalled and Likud will table a Bill to cancel the New Broadcasting Authority.
The object of this maneuver is to place Kulanu in the position of supporting the coalition against its own policy or voting against the Bill and violating coalition discipline which will bring down the government. If Kulanu does not support the bill they will then be blamed for causing the government to fall bringing new elections.
27 MARCH: After the failure of two meetings Sunday between Kahlon and Netanyahu, the pm has instructed the government’s legal advisors to prepare to recall the Knesset for a special session during its Spring Break, to pass legislation that would end the new broadcasting Corporation [IPBC] before it starts airing on April 30.
Such a move would force Kulanu out of the coalition and probably bring down the government. United Torah Judaism Party says that while ultra-Orthodox parties are against going to elections over the IPBC crisis between Netanyahu and Kahlon, they would not pose obstacles if the prime minister makes good on his threat.
26 March: 13:58 local time: Meeting between Netanyahu and Kahlon ends with no agreement on the Public Broadcasting crisis.
24 March: A communique issued after four days of intense talks between Israel and the US on settlement construction said that no agreement had been reached. Nevertheless it was announced that “The Israeli delegation made clear that Israel’s intent going forward is to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns [American demands] into consideration”. In diplomatic double talk this means that a tacit secret agreement has been reached but a formal public agreement has been avoided for reasons of Israeli politics. Netanyahu is to brief the Israeli cabinet on the matter Sunday.
Netanyahu corruption investigation revealing that he asked paper to aid him against Bennett in last election. This comes as the government is tottering over the Public Broadcasting Corporation which Bibi wants full control over before the fight with Bennett over Settlements and the upcoming elections. The Broadcasting fight is all about media control during the coming elections.
23 March: UPDATE 06:00 PDT: Netanyahu claims to be too sick to negotiate present crisis with Kulanu. NOTE: The sick routine has been a habit for Bibi before previous election calls, before which Netanyahu also got “sick’ to buy time to consider before calling elections.
As PM Netanyahu and Kulanu begin talks to resolve the present Israeli coalition crisis Bennett promises to bring down government if illegal construction is frozen in any part of the West Bank.
A deal is being struck between Bibi and the USA to allow construction inside settlement blocks and freeze illegal construction in other areas of the West Bank. The present negotiations in Washington are based on the original Trump proposal; numbers are being tweaked but the final deal will be similar, to get the peace talks rolling; and Bennett will leave the government when the freeze deal is made.
Regardless of the Kulanu crisis result Israel will still have to deal with the construction freeze crisis as covered in the first story of this Blog.
Coalition representatives working on compromise in the Netanyahu Kohlan dispute over the new public broadcaster. Behind all the public fuss the real issue is that Netanyahu wants control over the media in Israel. In response to the reports Netanyahu rejects any deal and will call elections if Kulanu does not completely give in.
See the first report below for the reasons that Bibi must call elections before being forced into a freeze on illegal West Bank construction by the USA.
Coalition parties maneuvering, Yesh Atid rejects entry of Zionist Union to save coalition and prevent elections. Likud and Kulanu officials talk.
Wednesday’s no confidence motion by Meretz delayed for Netanyahu return from China and last minute talks.
19 March 2017
UPDATE: The prime minister told his ministers on Saturday that if Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon refuses to shut down the new broadcasting corporation and reform the old one by the middle of the week, he will send Israel to the polls.
The US Coalition begins bombing Raqqa Syria ahead of an imminent attack on the Islamic State capital. US forces build up for Raqqa operation expected in first week of April. This offensive ties in with the coming Israeli election call and the looming Israeli war with Gaza / Hezbollah.
President Trump is making moves to begin a new round of Middle East peace talks and is demanding a freeze of all illegal settlement construction on occupied land until the talks can determine the status of the borders. An agreement is expected with president Abbas during his meeting with president Trump next month and a construction freeze will be demanded of Israel by the US soon after that.
A construction freeze will present a huge political opportunity for Naftali Bennett and his Jewish Home party to leave the coalition and force new elections, with Bennett playing the champion of the Settler Movement, taking far right voters away from Netanyahu and Likud. This would mean that Likud would lose the elections big time.
To preempt this move by Bennett, Netanyahu is preparing to dissolve the coalition and call elections BEFORE the construction freeze is forced on him and it becomes the key election issue. If Netanyahu dissolves the coalition claiming that he is doing so because of the need for a stronger more stable coalition; Bibi will have taken the political wind out of Bennett’s sails and could save the far right vote for Likud.
It is reported that Netanyahu has decided to go to elections and Likud is making preparations for an election call which could come within weeks. Saturday Netanyahu moved to break an agreement with Kulanu provoking another coalition crisis. Netanyahu is threatening elections as Kulanu and Zionist Union prepare for talks to bring down the government and the religious parties condemn Netanyahu’s Sabbath pollution.
The opposition Meretz party will join the effort to topple the Netanyahu government submitting a bill to dismiss the Knesset this week, with party leader Zehava Galon charging that Netanyahu was also causing the coalition crisis because of the police investigations against him.
The Israeli government is in a state of collapse with Netanyahu deciding to go for elections.
A bill to dissolve the Knesset is to be tabled later this week after Bibi returns from a trip to China. While nothing is certain in Israeli politics this does look like an election is coming quickly.
The present coalition was formed in March 2015 and at that time the Israeli media gave it perhaps a year. Once the election is called the various parties will have to agree on a date for the poll. At the same time war could break out between israel and Gaza or Hezbollah / Syria art any time the Israeli’s decide to launch more attacks provoke a response.
The present coalition was formed in March 2015 and at that time the Israeli media gave it perhaps a year, the fact that it survived this long may have much to do with God holding back events until His appointed time. Once the election is called the various parties will have to agree on a date for the poll. At the same time war could break out between israel and Gaza or Hezbollah / Syria art any time the Israeli’s decide to launch more attacks provoke a response.
This past week the various Palestinian militant groups held a general conference and decided to launch a new uprising against Israel. The Supreme Coordination Committee in Ramallah called on the various terrorist organizations to unite in “national unity” against Israel. A rally is planned for March 21 outside the Red Cross building in Ramallah and the uprising may be launched on Land Day March 30 this year. This move is being coordinated with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Syria under the direction of Iran.
Hezbollah has been making strong advances against the Israeli backed Syrian rebels controlling the Syrian Golan heights which is the reason for the Israeli attacks on the big T4 Syrian air base last Friday. The T4 air base is the main terminal used by Iran to airlift supplies to Hezbollah for their operations including the advances 0n the Syrian Golan heights and Hezbollah / Iran thought they would be safe there because of the Russian forces at the base. Friday’s Israeli attacks revealed that mistake.
After Israel’s bombing of Syrian military bases in Syria last Friday Syria warned of a response if Israel does it again. Netanyahu replied to that, saying that He would continue to bomb in Syria.
The air strikes and maneuvering in the region are much more serious than a few air raids, and a major war is in the air. The Netanyahu plan to dissolve the government takes all these things into consideration and the plan is to fight the election as “Mr Security” and win a large Knesset presence via the peoples satisfaction with a glorious victory.
However the enemy will have something to say and large quantities of missiles will strike major Israeli cities for the first time, and instead of voting in another far right extremist government the people may decide it is time to give a real chance to a genuine dialogue for peace.
The Trump administration is also threatening North Korea with military attack as well as Iran. North Korea is regarded as carrying out a ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program on behalf of Iran.
At that point a freeze on illegal construction and a genuine dialogue for peace as planned by president Trump will be feasible, but the far right settler movement will not stand by and do nothing, they will do everything they can to sabotage any peace agreement.