Blue and White doesn’t trust Netanyahu in a rotation agreement

Likud: Blue and White holding ‘fake negotiations’ with us, real talks with Arabs; Liberman rules out joining a minority government.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet to discuss possible political frameworks, October 27 2019 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet to discuss possible political frameworks, October 27 2019
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White and Likud continued to disparage one another and express extreme skepticism about the possibility of building a coalition, even as the parties held talks to form a unity government.
The negotiating teams for the two large parties met on Thursday morning in Ramat Gan. Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid joined the negotiators for part of the meeting.
A senior Blue and White source said the party does not trust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stick to the terms of a rotation agreement for the premiership, saying: "If Netanyahu is first, no one will be second...No one trusts him not to go back on his promises."
"If Bibi wasn't head of Likud now, we would have a government," the source said. "He seems to want a third election."
Likud chief negotiator Yariv Levin said going into the talks that Blue and White wants a minority government supported by the Joint List and not a unity government.
Levin said the Likud negotiators have “a difficult feeling that this is apparently fake negotiations.”
“The real negotiations are happening with [Joint List leader Ayman] Odeh to establish a lunatic minority government with the Arabs,” he stated.
Gantz plans to meet with Odeh on Thursday afternoon.
Levin said he planned to ask Blue and White negotiators Yoram Turbowicz and Shalom Shlomo if they abandoned “this foolish idea,” and whether they truly want a unity government, following the “president’s plan” that would allow Gantz to be prime minister while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes an extended leave to handle his legal woes.
“Unfortunately, it seems that this time, once again, we won’t hear answers to all these questions,” Levin added.
Levin also called Gantz and Lapid's presence a "PR stunt" meant to hide that they don't want a unity government or to follow the president's plan.
A minority coalition with outside support from the Joint List has been a controversial option among Blue and White MKs, and some in the party’s right flank have spoken out against it. There was a heated argument on the subject in a Blue and White faction meeting this week, with some saying the idea of building a coalition relying on anti-Zionist votes should not even be entertained as a negotiating tactic and others saying all options must be considered.
When it comes to a minority government, one Blue and White source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that any possibility should be considered to get Netanyahu to “pack his bags and leave” the Prime Minister's Office. He said it is always possible that once the minority government is established and lasts for a period of time, other Zionist parties will join it and form a majority.
Meanwhile, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman ruled out any possibility of joining a minority government with the Joint List, effectively killing that option.
"First of all, it is clear that the Joint List is a fifth column - not in scare quotes, but literally," Liberman told KAN Bet. "The whole election we said there is only one option, a unity government, period. We will continue with everything that we promised to the voters."
Still, Liberman argued that Netanyahu wants another election and has ignored all of his party's overtures.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has 20 days left to form a government before the mandate to do so goes to the Knesset, which will then have 21 days for a majority of its members to back a candidate for prime minister. If that does not happen, a third election within a year will be called.
Ahead of Thursday’s meeting, Likud and Blue and White seemed as far apart as ever, with sources on both sides saying they don’t see a path to a coalition, making a third election likely.
Levin said that Gantz has shown willingness to compromise after meeting with Netanyahu, but the rest of Blue and White’s quadripartite leadership, which also includes Yair Lapid, Moshe Ya’alon and Gabi Ashkenazi, pushed back, leading Gantz to reverse course.