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The unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ex-rival Benny Gantz must be sworn in on Thursday evening to end the longest political crisis

After 500 days of twists and turns, three elections and negotiations until the last minute, the unity government of Benjamin Netanyahu and his ex-rival Benny Gantz must be sworn in on Thursday evening to end the longest political crisis in the history of Israel.

Some people no longer believed in it and others did not yet believe it as this political saga was like an endless soap opera. But Israeli parliamentarians must play the final episode of "Israeli political crisis" and simultaneously start the new season of "Union Government".

Behind the scenes, a few hours before the investiture of future ministers, some intrigues are still running, in particular on the participation of the radical right-wing party Yamina in this government, led by the Likud (right) of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the training "Bleu-Blanc" centrist by Benny Gantz.

These two party leaders, engaged for more than a year in a showdown for the leadership of the Hebrew State and each unable to rally a majority after three elections, have buried the hatchet in recent weeks for the benefit of a "government of union and emergency" which will have to put the country back on track after the storm "corona".

Their agreement provides for the retention of Benjamin Netanyahu, whose corruption trial is scheduled to open at the end of the month, as Prime Minister for the next 18 months, then Benny Gantz for an equivalent period, and the fair sharing of the portfolios between the two camps.

Each camp is free to redistribute these functions to its allies, which Benny Gantz did by inviting a part of the left to the government and Benjamin Netanyahu from ultra-Orthodox formations.

"Everything revolves around the allocation of seats. This government does not seem to have an ideology," notes Thursday the daily Yediot Aharonoth, stressing that the negotiations had ensured that "there was no substantive debate "on the directions of the government, the heaviest in the history of Israel with ultimately 36 ministers.

Annexation vs. economy

A few hours before the enthronement, the name of Naftali Bennett, leader of the Yamina party and supporter of the annexation of swathes of the West Bank occupied by Israel, is not registered with the poster of the government.

If the Netanyahu / Gantz agreement provides for the presentation, from July 1, of a plan to put to music the American project of resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the "guidelines" of the mission of the future government in this regard , unveiled last night, seem more blurred.

President Donald Trump's plan calls for the annexation by Israel of more than 130 Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley, the tongue of land stretching between Lake Tiberias and the Dead Sea, which would become the new Israel's eastern border with Jordan.

The project has been rejected as a whole by the Palestinians, from secular Fatah to the Islamists of Hamas, and various international actors have warned of this plan, which could push "the region towards more conflicts", Jordanian diplomats said on Wednesday.

The American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, paid a lightning visit to Jerusalem on Wednesday to discuss in particular this file with Benjamin Netanyahu, Benny Gantz and the future head of Israeli diplomacy Gabi Ashkenazi.

If few elements have filtered from these discussions, the "guidelines" of the next government do not explicitly mention "annexation" but rather refer to the need to "strengthen national security" and to work for "peace".

Above all, the government says it wants to focus on "strengthening the economy" and "increasing competition" in a context of deconfinement.

A country of around nine million people, Israel officially counted more than 16,500 cases of people infected with the new coronavirus, including 264 deaths.

This assessment, which remains weak in comparison to Europe and North America, hides, however, a jump in unemployment which went from 3.4% before the crisis, to around 27% .

Benjamin Netanyahu Benny Gantz Israeli

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