11/25/2022, 11.15
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Netanyahu, first coalition agreement: Ben-Gvir police minister

Far-right leader also assured a post in Israel's security cabinet. Ben-Gvir in a note speaks of a "big step" towards the birth of the new government. Now the game for Defence and Smotrich's role remains open. It would seem to fall back on Finance with delegation to the Civil Administration to control the territories. And put an end to the Palestinian State. 

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party today officialy announced the first coalition agreement aimed at forming a new government. The leader of the Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) party, Itamar Ben-Gvir, will be assigned the police ministry and a seat in Israel's security cabinet.

For the extreme right-wing exponent, it is a key ministry that will be responsible, among others, for the control of the Al Aqsa Mosque (or Temple Mount), with possible future tensions related to Orthodox Jews walking and praying in an area that Muslims consider the third holy place for Islam. 

It is an official first step towards the birth of the new executive, which will most likely be completed within the timeframe envisaged by the constitutional order, although there are still key positions at stake, such as that of the Ministry of Defence. 'We have taken a big step,' Ben-Gvir stressed in a note, 'towards a full coalition agreement, towards the formation of an executive in full swing' and oriented 'to the right'.

Likud and its religious and far-right allies won a clear victory in the November 1 elections, ending almost four years of political instability. The executive under construction seems destined to be the most right-wing in Israel's history, so much so that it has forced its leader Netanyahu to make an intense diplomatic and mediation effort between the radical drifts within the coalition and the Western allies. Above all the United States and the new Arab partners in the so-called 'Abraham Accords'. 

The knot is tied to the wing of the religious ultra-right, fundamental to guarantee a solid majority among the 120 deputies of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. At the vote, the front had presented itself united, in order to guarantee itself greater electoral strength, but when the seats were distributed, splits occurred with seven deputies for Bezalel Yoel Smotrich's Religious Zionist Party, six for Ben-Gvir and a further minority group. 

Having reached agreement on the Police, a key position controlling access to holy places, the game now remains open for the coveted Ministry of Defence. Smotrich has claimed it on several occasions during government negotiations, while targeting NGOs and pro-human rights activist groups fighting against the occupation.

Washington's behind-the-scenes intervention and the Arab world's discontent have in all likelihood closed the door of Defence to the leader of the ultra-right, who, however, seems to be oriented towards the Finance ministry, with delegation to the civil administration. In this way, he would secure control of the West Bank because the body oversees the civil life of about 60% of the region (Area C).

It is a disturbing prospect for many activist movements, including Peace Now, which speaks - in the event of an agreement on the appointment - of a "de facto annexation" of the territories, a further push to the expansionist policy of the colonies and the recognition of the outposts.

In practice, an end to any prospect of a Palestinian state. 

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