United Right says Israeli sovereignty must be applied to settlements

The United Right party has said that applying Israeli sovereignty to all West Bank settlements is one of its main conditions for joining a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

United Right, which won five seats in the 9 April election, has also demanded the new government repeal the disengagement law (which prohibits the resettlement of four northern West Bank settlements evacuated as part of Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza and the West Bank), the establishment of an authority responsible for legalising illegal outposts in the West Bank, an override clause to allow MKs to overturn Supreme Court decisions, and an amendment to the immunity law to revert to its 2005 version.

If the amendment to the immunity law is passed it will grant every MK automatic immunity from prosecution which can only be lifted by a majority of the members of the Knesset’s House Committee and subsequently all Knesset members voting in favour of lifting it. If passed, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be immune from prosecution for the duration of his term unless MK’s vote to lift that immunity. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced in February that he intended to indict the Prime Minister for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing that is due to take place in the next three to five months.

The Blue and White party criticised the demands made by United Right. Yair Lapid said: “Everything is in [the list of demands]. Full annexation, repealing disengagement, stripping the court of its powers, dismantling the Civil Administration and ending the State of Israel’s democratic structure. The remuneration? An immunity bill for Bibi [Netanyahu]. That’s a good deal for them, and it’s good for him too. It’s awful for the citizens of Israel.”

Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg said: “The insertion of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal affairs into the coalition negotiations is a clear breach of trust that prioritises his personal wellbeing over the public welfare.”

Yediot Ahronoth reported that there are serious divisions within the two parties which comprise United Right: Jewish Home and National Union. Senior Jewish Home officials spoke with leader Rafi Peretz yesterday and told him that the partnership with the National Union’s Bezalel Smotrich had to end “because of his behaviour in the coalition negotiations”.

Netanyahu is expected to meet with Kulanu’s Moshe Kahlon this Thursday to begin coalition negotiations. Kahlon has said he wants to remain Finance Minister but Channel 13 reported that he might be offered the job of foreign minister.