Long-standing Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu lost power in a vote by the Israeli Knesset (parliament) to establish a new coalition government. The vote was won narrowly at 60 votes to 59 with 1 abstention, ending Netanyahu’s 12 consecutive years as PM. The coalition has won the vote by forming a coalition of far-right and liberal parties uniting on the objective of ousting Netanyahu. Commenting on his loss the former Prime Minister vowed to overthrow the coalition government stating that “it will come sooner than you think.”
Although Netanyahu has demeaningly called the new coalition a “left-wing government,” the truth is anything but. Ultranationalist Naftali Bennet will be leading the first two years of the coalition’s rule, while liberal Yair Lapid will take over for the latter two. Following over a decade of oppressive anti-Palestinian action by the previous government, now incumbent Prime Minister Bennet has no plan to change that. Netanyahu’s will to overthrow the new government is clearly out of a thirst to retain power, rather than a genuine fear of agenda change.
Bennet has previously stated that he has “killed a lot of Arabs in [his] life – and there’s no problem with that,” and that he would “do everything in [his] power to make sure they never get a state” regarding Palestinian independence. Bennet’s reign will look to advance anti-Palestinian apartheid, Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as further military action against Iran. Lapid, although far less rabid, seems to be intent on making no real change regarding the Palestinian national question or Israel’s role in the global political landscape.
A similar assessment of the new government was made by the Communist Party of Israel and Hadash (The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) stating that “this is a government that will continue to deny the rights of the Arab public in Israel, as a native national minority, and as part of the country’s citizens. It will continue its policy of suffocating Arab communities, demolishing houses and expropriating land – as Prime Minister Bennett himself said, that the policy in the Negev is to concentrate as many Arabs as possible on as little land as possible.”
And further that “the overthrow of Netanyahu and his removal from power, due to the great and direct dangers and his record of racism and bloodshed, is an important goal and goal we have fought for since coming to power in 1996, and since his return to power in 2009. Netanyahu’s rule, especially in the last four election campaigns, and in the recommendations phase. But getting rid of Netanyahu does not justify supporting the government, which continues and even perpetuates Netanyahu’s policy on core issues.”