“Netanyahu will climb down and resign. His time is over,” said a senior Blue and White official, according to Israel Hayom.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be meeting his political rival MK Benny Gantz on Wednesday due to a “strategic” decision within Gantz’s Blue and White faction to”weaken” Netanyahu, reports Israel Hayom.
Blue and White and Netanyahu’s Likud party finished neck and neck with the largest parliamentary representations in the September 17 Knesset election.
President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu a mandate on September 25 to work on forming a governing parliamentary majority. If Likud and Blue and White could join forces in forming a unity government, they would have an immediate majority in the Knesset.
Talks between teams from the two sides have so far failed to produce a breakthrough.
Another meeting was expected Wednesday but Blue and White announced Tuesday evening that it was calling it off.
In addition, Netanyahu reportedly had offered to sit down with Gantz in a bid to hammer out differences, but in the same statement on Tuesday, Blue and White said that the conditions were not right for holding the top-level encounter, and therefore it would not take place either.
“Netanyahu won’t toy with us. Benny [Gantz] will be prime minister, and Netanyahu will climb down and resign. His time is over,” said a senior Blue and White official, according to Israel Hayom.
In reaction to the Blue and White statement that neither the teams nor the leaders would meet on Wednesday, Likud issued a statement, saying that it was “shocked.” Netanyahu’s party accused Blue and White of forcing the Israeli people into a third parliamentary election.
After the April 9 election, Netanyahu failed to form a government coalition when former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman decided not to join.
The Knesset legislated another election which took place on September 17.
The results of the recent repeat ballot produced similar results of a divided parliament, increasing calls for unity talks between the two largest factions.
Blue and White has been complaining about Netanyahu’s establishment of a bloc with religious and right-wing parties in the immediate aftermath of September’s vote, giving the Likud a far larger representation in the talks toward forming a new government. Blue and White says that negotiations should be on an equal footing between two factions of virtually the same size.
According to Likud, Gantz suggested to Netanyahu that the negotiating teams meet before the party leaders sat down, says Israel Hayom.
Also at the center of the talks have been the issue of a rotation of Netanyahu and Gantz serving as prime minister and the legal woes facing the incumbent prime minister, as a pre-trial hearing was taking place on Wednesday ahead of a decision whether to put Netanyahu on trial.
He faces potential indictment in three cases of alleged corruption.
Source: World Israel News