The Government Ends and the Blame Game Begins; Abbas: Our Influence Is Unprecedented

Meretz's Horowitz blames the selfishness of Yamina lawmakers, Liberman blames Netanyahu's lies and Abbas is looking to use the chaos to make political gains

Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas last Week.
United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Health Minister and Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz rejected claims his party had a part in dissolving the government and pointed the blame at Naftali Bennett's party, Yamina.

Speaking with the Army Radio on Tuesday, Horowitz charged that those who sought to pull the plug on the government were lawmakers from Yamina who "couldn't stand being in a partnership – not with us and not with the Arabs in the coalition."

Horowitz added that Meretz lawmakers did not apply pressure or made threats to dissolve the government, specifically including Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, who resigned from the ruling coalition in May, but withdrew her resignation after exhaustive internal talks.

The bill to dissolve the government will be submitted on Wednesday and put on the Knesset schedule for this week with the hope it would pass an initial vote and then move to the Knesset House Committee, chaired by Nir Orbach.

The coalition assumes that Orbach, a right wing politician who considered defecting to the Likud as recently as last week, would happily pass the bill along to the next stage, in which it would need to pass three votes with the support of 61 lawmakers. The bill is likely to be put up for a first vote on Monday, but the coalition hopes to have all three votes taken that day.

Meanwhile, the squabble over the blame for the demise of the government continues, with Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman pointing a finger at opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Monday, Lieberman said that the upcoming elections, and all of the previous elections cycles were the result of "the lies and intrigue of one man, Benjamin Netanyahu." The primary goal of his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, now is to prevent Netanyahu from returning to power, Lieberman added.

The minister also accused Netanyahu of hypocrisy after the latter said on Monday that he would not sit in a coalition with the UAL and its leader Mansour Abbas despite "meeting with Abbas four times during Guardian of the Walls," according to Lieberman.

Abbas, however, does not seem to be harboring ill feelings towards Netanyahu. Speaking with local Arabic radio station al-Shams, Abbas said that he does not rule out sitting with Netanyahu, but that under no circumstances would he take part in a government which includes Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich from Religious Zionism who have "a fascist and racists view of the world."
Abbas has his eye on gaining more influence for the Arab community in the next government. "We've only just begun," Abbas said in an interview with Channel 12 News, "We also want partners and influence in the next coalition. Whoever wants to join this new approach of the United Arab List is welcome, and whoever wants to play a game of chairs – we're not with you. The Arab public wants influence."

Netanyahu, for the time being, is busy celebrating the fall of the government which he dubbed "the biggest failure in the history of Israel." In a jubilant video on social media Netanyahu vowed to establish a "national government," emphasizing that it would not welcome Mansour Abbas to its ranks.

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