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24 Nov, 2019 19:32

Surrounded? Netanyahu faces internal party dissent while arch-rival Gantz accuses him of inciting ‘CIVIL WAR’ in Israel

Surrounded? Netanyahu faces internal party dissent while arch-rival Gantz accuses him of inciting ‘CIVIL WAR’ in Israel

Hit with a corruption probe, Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly can’t catch a break. His rival Benny Gantz wants him ousted for leading Israel to the brink of “civil war,” all while dissent grows within the embattled PM’s Likud party.

The defiant reaction to the corruption indictment has apparently done more harm than good to Netanyahu. Dismissing it as an “attempted coup” and alleging that the judicial authorities might have been following “foreign interests” with their three-year quest to dig into Bibi’s dirty laundry, the Prime Minister has played into the hands of his political rivals.

Also on rt.com ‘Attempted coup’: Defiant Netanyahu slams corruption indictment, says probe ‘tainted by foreign interests’

While Netanyahu recanted his angry rant to a degree, stating later that he would abide by all the decisions of the court, his combative remarks are now eagerly used by his opponents. On Sunday, leader of the Blue & White party Benny Gantz – the main opponent of Netanyahu in the enduring standoff that followed the indecisive general elections – accused the PM of fomenting civil unrest with such statements and of dragging the country into an internal conflict with his desire to cling to power.

“The Right in recent in weeks are left with no room for no doubt, Netanyahu is threatening a civil war with his call of incitement. I stand here in front of you in the name of many people on the Right and Left and say: it's time to heal Israeli society from the plague of hatred,” Gantz stated.

The politician tried hard to make it as personal as possible – he singled out Netanyahu, while openly calling upon his Likud party, who are “partners in Zionist values” as he put it, to oust their embattled leader and form a unity government. Both Netanyahu and Gantz failed to form one after the September elections – and the country is now at risk of having its third poll in a single year.

Leaders of the Likud, now is the time to make your voices heard.

The problem may be that such voices have already been present. One of Netanyahu’s main opponents within the Likud, MK Gideon Sa’ar, has openly challenged the party’s leader, calling upon him to open it up to new leadership. Sa’ar harshly criticized the PM’s ‘attempted coup’ remark, demanding the immediate election of a new party leader – while claiming he could “easily form a government” if he were at the helm.

Also on rt.com Israel may face unprecedented THIRD ELECTION after Gantz fails to form coalition government

Even the visibly pro-Netanyahu faction in Likud appears to be quite sceptical that Bibi will be able to cling to power. On Sunday, former Jerusalem mayor MK Nir Barkat unveiled a plan to hold primaries for a new position of deputy head of the party, instead of starting an outright power struggle amid the political crisis.

The deputy head of the party would be able to automatically replace Netanyahu if the latter were forced to take a leave of absence or to step down to deal with the graft charges. According to Barkat, this plan is designed to “thwart attempts to divide the party, and will strengthen Likud.”

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