(Photo credit: Reuters)
Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced late on 21 December the formation of Israel’s most extreme far-right government in its short history, nearly 40 days after the Likud chairman received the mandate to form a government by President Isaac Herzog.
בזכות התמיכה הציבורית העצומה לה זכינו בבחירות האחרונות, עלה בידי להקים ממשלה שתפעל לטובת כל אזרחי ישראל 🇮🇱❤️ pic.twitter.com/ijtDppkaSm
— Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) December 21, 2022
Netanyahu’s new government, which will be comprised of the far-right Likud, Religious Zionist Party (RZP), Shas, United Torah Judaism (UTJ), Otzma Yehudit, and Noam factions, claims it will work for “all Israeli citizens” according to a statement published by Likud.
Netanyahu has already served as Israel’s premier longer than anyone in the country’s history – including a stint between 1996 and 1999 and a 12-year tenure from 2009 to 2021. He is currently facing charges for alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust by him and close political allies within his inner circle.
As part of his deal with Jewish supremacist factions, Netanyahu agreed to officially authorize illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank within the next 60 days. This is considered a form of de facto annexation, as the authorization gives Tel Aviv direct oversight of occupied territory beyond the nation’s borders.
Israel has illegally expanded its territory since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and built settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem for over 700,000 settlers, in clear violation of international law.
The returning premier also agreed to execute a plan to transfer authority over Israeli civilian life in Area C of the West Bank, now under Israeli army control, to the relevant government ministries, which would include the newly created National Security Ministry that will be led by anti-Arab official Itamar Ben Gvir.
While Ben Gvir has been granted authority over the Israeli occupation forces, his RZP partner, ultranationalist Bezalel Smotrich, will have control over planning in the West Bank, giving it wide powers over the lives of Palestinians and opening the door to an expansion of illegal settlements.
Israel’s most extreme government ever will take office after a year that has witnessed the worst levels of violence in the occupied West Bank in more than 10 years, with over 150 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and some 20 Israeli killed in retaliatory attacks.