Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz now control the fate of settlements in the West Bank.
Right-wing politicians pushed to bring down Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, warning it was a disaster for the West Bank settlements. But in doing so, they created a paradigm in which any scenario would harm Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.
Now that Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have announced they plan to dissolve the Knesset next week, Lapid will replace Bennett as prime minister until a new government is formed. It’s the fifth such election cycle in less than five years.
Gantz’s marching order
Defense Minister Benny Gantz will remain in his position, but he will be taking his marching orders from Lapid and not Bennett.
It’s possible, of course, that Likud Party head and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu could create a new right-wing coalition prior to the Knesset’s dissolution, thereby saving the country from elections.
Barring that Hail Mary move, the lame-duck government will now be headed by Lapid, who could not be more different than Bennett with regard to the West Bank and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Bennett does not support a Palestinian state and believes Israel should retain all of Area C. Lapid, in contrast, supports a two-state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinians and maintains that Israel should retain only a small portion of Area C.
In February, Lapid said he did not support any settlement activity that would harm the two-state option. “We are not going to build anything that will prevent the possibility of a future two-state solution,” he said.
He will be in office for a short time, probably just less than half a year. First there is the late election date at the end of October; then there could be additional time needed to form a government.
But it’s half a year that could be significant, starting with US President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel in July, during which time he is expected to press Israel to halt all unilateral actions in the West Bank, including settlement activity, and to promote Palestinian development of Area C.
The Tribulation is commencing…
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