Israel was unable to form a government even after elections were renewed in September. Israeli President Reuben Rivlin gave the job to parliament after Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz of the “Blue-White” alliance failed to do so. However, on December 11, parliament’s time runs out. It seems that Israel will hold elections for the third time.
Netanyahu, who still currently holds the office of prime minister and with three separate charges of corruption against him, is now appealing to the Trump government for the annexation of the occupied Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The West Bank is Netanyahu clutching at his last straws.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month stated the U.S. no longer considers the settlements in the West Bank as “illegal.”
Pro-Israel Mike Pompeo, who is known for his attachment to the Evangelical-Christian ideology, got his answer from Luxembourg’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn.
Asselborn wanted EU countries to open up to debate whether it was appropriate to recognize Palestine as a state.
The EU, which acknowledges the West Bank as Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation and refuses to recognize their illegal settlements, is opposing Netanyahu’s annexation plans.
The U.S. used to be of the same opinion as the EU on the West Bank. This started to change in favor of Israel’s annexation policies when Trump took office.
Trump followed a policy that would strengthen Netanyahu.
Despite Trump’s huge favors, Netanyahu still couldn’t manage to clutch the election result he desired.
Bibi’s failure to form a government disappointed Trump, so he doesn’t want to make a premature pledge for the annexation of the West Bank.
Trump, who has made concessions to Netanyahu that no U.S. government has, wants to keep his last ace up his sleeve.
Netanyahu in his turn needs the West Bank in order to get re-elected and is putting his trust in Pompeo to this end.
The “Blue-White” Alliance on the other hand defends the West Bank’s annexation as a part of the deal to be made with the Palestinians.
Benny Gantz also opposes a joint military deal between Israel and the U.S. because he says it will tie the hands of the Israeli military.
Netanyahu for his part disagrees with this view. The real person who wants a U.S.-Israeli deal is Trump himself.
Netanyahu wanted to meet with Trump at the NATO summit in London.
However, the U.K. blocked Netanyahu’s attempt, stating that Israel isn’t a NATO member.
So Bibi met with Pompeo in Lisbon, where he was claimed to discussed the West Bank.
U.S. State Department sources said that the Iran issue was discussed in the meeting, but they didn’t mention the West Bank.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs stated that no plan regarding the West Bank was discussed in the meeting.
Schenker even implied that Netanyahu mischaracterized the contents of the meeting.
Netanyahu is twitching in his seat for Trump to make an official announcement that he endorses the annexation of the West Bank.
Furthermore, it has been revealed that Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn sent a letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) and EU foreign ministers to bring forth a two state solution.
Asselborn had sent the letter before EU foreign affairs council on December 9.
Israel, who wasn’t aware of the letter until later, tasked diplomats to research the impacts of Asselborn’s attempt.
It appears that his initiative has Netanyahu shaking in his boots. However reports say that the subject will be touched upon in a meeting set to take place in January.
Netanyahu, whose party came second in the September elections, is trying to walk on thin ice, which could crumble beneath him any second.
His political career is in jeopardy due to the cases filed against him and his only hope is now Trump.
Trump is trying to deal with his own mess whatnot with an impeachment investigation launched against him as he tries to prepare for the 2020 elections. Under these conditions it’s hard for Trump to give Bibi what he wants.
Both are trying to remain above water, but the clock is ticking.