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Countdown to Possible Third Election Begins

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21 Nov 2019
Countdown to Possible Third Election Begins
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein met at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Thursday, formally initiating a 21-day period in which any MK could obtain the support of a majority of the Knesset members and form a government following the failure of Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a governing coalition. Addressing all 120 elected MKs, Rivlin said “When the last two Knesset terms began, I asked you to set aside your election swords and clean away the dirt. I told you that political considerations must no longer be what solely guides you. You must show awareness of our sovereignty, statesmanship and responsibility for the people of this dear land. During these 21 days, consider your go obligation to the people.”

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz gave a speech on Wednesday evening, shortly after informing President Reuven Rivlin that he had failed to build a governing coalition for the 22nd Knesset and was returning the mandate to Rivlin. “Israel needs leadership with vision,” Gantz said, adding that incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “leading [Israel] down a dangerous path that will have a high, historic price, and you are responsible for it.” He also blamed the Right-wing bloc which supports Netanyahu for refusing to compromise for the greater good and reportedly also said in private conversations that some of the blame rested with his own coalition partners who also refused to make compromises which would have given him more room to maneuver in negotiations.

Elsewhere, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman was harshly criticized by leaders of the Right wing bloc. Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich said during a factional meeting at the Knesset on Wednesday that Lieberman “is unworthy to be a part of any coalition. At a press conference later in the day, United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman said that Lieberman’s statements that he would not sit in a government with Orthodox parties because they were not Zionist and were harming the country were anti-Semitic.

PA Gets Diplomatic Boost from Canada at the UN
Palestinian Authority officials issued statements this week welcoming a decision by Canada to switch its vote in the General Assembly on the question of Palestinian self-determination from “no” to “yes.” “We appreciated this principled position by the Canadian government,” a Palestinian envoy told the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee on Tuesday. “We are very disappointed that the government of Canada did not stand firm in opposition to the annual Israel-bashing ritual at the UN General Assembly,” said Jeffrey Rosenthal, cochairman of Canada’s Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Holland Announces Cut in Funding to PA
The Dutch government announced on Wednesday that it is cutting the usual funding to the Palestinian Authority due to the stipends it gives to jailed Palestinian terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out terrorist attacks. The annoucnment included an explanation that talks had been held with PA officials to try and find a solution but that those talks “did not lead to the desired outcome.”

Iraq in Turmoil as Violent Demonstrations Continue
Large-scale demonstrations were reported in several Iraqi cities on Wednesday with violent confrontations between demonstrators and security services shutting down major roads and oil production facilities. "Export and import activities have stopped because trucks cannot enter Khor Al Zubair or Umm Qasr ports," one official at Basra's port authority said.

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