Netanyahu, Gantz say talks will restart after holiday

But they don't say which holiday

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to wish him a happy holiday on Wednesday, and in a joint statement they both said they would continue their dialogue “after the holiday.”
They said that they both want there to be a unity government for the good of the people of Israel at this time.
But when the first day of the holiday ended on Thursday evening, spokesmen for both Netanyahu and Gantz could not answer the question of whether “after the holiday” meant later Thursday night or when Passover ends on the evening of Wednesday, April 15.
“We will update once there is something to update about whether [the negotiations will restart] pre- or post-baguette,” a source close to Gantz said.
Channel 13 reported that efforts were underway to organize a meeting between Netanyahu and Gantz on Friday.
Disputes remain over the makeup of the judicial selection committee and what would happen if the Supreme Court were to rule that an indicted MK may not form a government.
Gantz wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that the Likud had backtracked on understandings between the two parties on an agreement that was ready to be signed on Monday evening. No negotiations have taken place since then.
“This is not the time to play games and stall or fight over petty politics,” Gantz wrote. “The negotiations between us and the Likud on forming a national emergency government were almost finalized successfully this week. No side received everything it demanded, including ours, but both sides received what was necessary for it in order to serve the citizens of Israel loyally in the period ahead.”
Gantz noted that the talks broke down specifically because of Likud leaders changing their minds.
“We were ready to celebrate what had been done, but then Netanyahu and his people came with a demand to harm the proper procedures of the judicial selection committee, despite what we had already agreed on,” Gantz wrote. “We responded that we should form a national emergency government, but not at any price. Joining forces at a time of crisis is important, but especially in times like these, maintaining our democracy and the rule of law is critical for the future of Israel.”
Gantz’s mandate to form a government expires next Monday. He has asked President Reuven Rivlin for an extension.
The Likud responded that the blame for the stalemate belongs to Blue and White. The party said the basis for the government was supposed to be making decisions together.
“Unfortunately at the last moment, it was Blue and White that backtracked from that agreement, which is the basis for any equal government,” the Likud said.
Netanyahu’s party said negotiations would restart and a government can be formed when Blue and White returns to its commitment to joint decisions on selecting judges.
“Deceitful political spin for the press by Blue and White does not bring a unity government closer,” the Likud said.
Netanyahu said in an interview with 103fm Radio that he is determined to form a unity government.
“We must reach understandings and do what is needed to bring about equality [in the coalition],” Netanyahu said.