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Netanyahu Presents Four West Bank Plans to Benny Gantz, But Talks Deadlocked – Report

© REUTERS / Menahem KahanaIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, as they both wear a protective mask due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 7, 2020.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with Alternate Prime Minister and Defence Minister Benny Gantz, as they both wear a protective mask due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 7, 2020. - Sputnik International
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Israeli media earlier reported, citing anonymous sources, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking for a pretext to break the coalition agreement with Benny Gantz's Blue and White Alliance in a bid to call a new election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented four plans on annexing parts of the West Bank to his coalition government partner from the Blue and White Alliance, Benny Gantz, Israeli Channel 13 reported.

According to the broadcaster, the two, accompanied by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, were discussing the best course of action on 17 June, but failed to make any progress so far with talks set to continue in the coming days.

Channel 13 says, citing an anonymous senior official, that Netanyahu showed Gantz maps for all four annexation scenarios. They range between annexing 30% of the territory under US President Donald Trump's "deal of the century", which was vehemently rejected by Palestinians, to a small symbolic sliver of the territory.

Gantz and Ashkenazi reportedly oppose annexing lands where Palestinians live and are pushing for a "diplomatic" rather than a unilateral move. In its report Channel 13 did not elaborate about the other details of Netanyahu's four scenarios or Gantz's demands.

Pretext to Launch Another Election?

The reported impasse in talks comes as the set day of annexation, 1 July, looms large. The move is part of Netanyahu's electoral promise and a coalition government deal with Gantz.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend the weekly cabinet meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, June 14, 2020 - Sputnik International
Netanyahu Seeks to End Unity Government Partnership With Gantz, Report Claims

The latter might, however, not survive very long. Israeli Channel 12 reported earlier, citing an anonymous Likud member, that Netanyahu is not intending to mantain a coalition in which he will have to give up the post of prime minister to Gantz at a later date. Instead, he is reportedly looking for proper timing and a pretext to pronounce the coalition dead and call a new election. 

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