(TEL AVIV, Israel.) LATEST: Netanyahu pushes for a 5th term in office as Likud and its political allies in Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism fail to obtain a 61-seat majority on Tuesday, with lawmakers issuing a decree for a squatter settlement – Mevoot Yericho located in the Jordan Valley – as an official one #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Sept.17: The Israeli government has issued its approval for a settlement in the occupied West Bank, in what looks like a desperate attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to boost his waning support ahead of the upcoming vote. All Israeli settlements on the occupied territories are deemed illegal under international law, yet Tel Aviv distinguishes between those it approved and those it did not.

Benny Gantz and Benjamin Netanyahu rally their voters a day before elections 2019. . (photo credit: SRAYA DIAMANT / MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

“Unlike in the April election, President Reuven Rivlin is expected to begin consultations with the factions that cross the threshold only when the results are official: He is expected to limit whoever he tasks with forming a government to four weeks, without the 14-day extension traditionally granted.

Sources in Likud said Monday that if the Likud and its political allies in Yamina, Shas and United Torah Judaism fail to obtain a 61-seat majority on Tuesday, efforts would begin immediately to unseat the prime minister as head of the party: The sources said those efforts would intensify if Rivlin tasks Gantz with forming a coalition government.

Netanyahu said in interviews on Monday that Likud and its allies did not have 61 seats in the latest private polls taken for his party: He said that majority would not be obtained unless turnout was higher than in April in traditional Likud strongholds.

Both Netanyahu and Gantz visited the Western Wall and reached out to voters on social media on Monday. Likud petitioned the Central Elections Committee and blocked Gantz from holding a rally with media at his childhood home of Kfar Ahim in the northern Negev: Gantz warned against the potential for violence in polling stations, and called on Netanyahu to accept the results if he is defeated. In an interview with the Knesset Channel, Gantz promised to learn from what he admitted was a mistake in the April election and not declare victory after the exit polls, even if they are positive: Gantz announced on Monday that if he forms the government, former IDF chief of staff MK Gabi Ashkenazi will be defense minister.

“There are two domains which are of significant importance in the State or Israel: security and education,” Gantz said. “With that, I have decided to appoint Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF Chief of Staff and Golani soldier who rehabilitated the IDF following the Lebanon War, for the position of defense minister. Gabi knows how to restore deterrence and a sense of security to Israeli citizens in the South, in the Gaza envelope, in the North and throughout the country.”……………Gantz said another former IDF chief of staff, MK Moshe Ya’alon, who served as defense minister under prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would become education minister.

“Former chief of staff and defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, a man of unimpeachable moral character and someone who knows how to bring together the factions of Israeli society, I appoint to the position of education minister to repair the rifts in Israeli society,” Gantz said: “Now you just have to decide – an extreme, immunity government or a secular, unity government.”

The foreign minister post has been reserved for Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid, while the most senior woman in Blue and White, MK Miki Haimovich, would be environmental protection minister. MK Meir Cohen would be Knesset Speaker: “Who would you prefer to face Hamas, former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi or the man who gives [Hamas] suitcases full of dollars?” Lapid tweeted, in a reference to Netanyahu. “Who would you prefer as education minister: [Yamina candidate Bezalel] Smotrich and his racism, or an honest man of values like Bogie Ya’alon?”

Netanyahu mocked the announcement, saying that if Gantz has already started allocating portfolios, “What positions did he promise [Joint List leaders] Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi?””

On Sunday, the cabinet issued a decree recognising one such squatter settlement – Mevoot Yericho located in the Jordan Valley – as an official one. #Netanyahu is trying to shift attention from his corruption scandals as he vows to annex Jordan Valley in the occupied #WestBank if reelected https://t.co/ROIjtBd3t8 pic.twitter.com/t6j0u4bfew— RT (@RT_com) September 11, 2019 “The government passed the prime minister’s motion to build Mevoot Yericho,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said following a weekly government meeting, which was conspicuously held in the Jordan Valley this time.Such movements are quite rare, as, according to the Israeli media, only five similar decisions were taken over the past decade.The fact that this step was made just days ahead of the upcoming snap elections prompted some people, including Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, to believe that it is for the sake of Netanyahu’s electoral campaign.The prime minister earlier vowed to annex the whole Jordan Valley, which accounts for roughly one third of the occupied West Bank, if elected.

Also on rt.com An Israeli soldier in the West Bank. August 2019. © Mussa Qawasma / Reuters Netanyahu’s West Bank annexation plan is vile attempt to win votes at expense of peace – Turkey Mandelblit criticized the settlement approval, arguing that there was “no vital or urgent need” for it and adding that it could be detrimental to Israel’s international posture.Meanwhile, the situation for Netanyahu indeed appears to be desperate. Mired in corruption scandals, the troubled prime minister barely managed to squeak out a victory against his rival, ex-military chief Benny Gantz leading a centrist Blue and White Alliance, in April. People rally in #TelAviv against #Netanyahu’s govt ahead of upcoming legislative elections in #Israel pic.twitter.com/8NBI0r4O3J— RT (@RT_com) September 15, 2019 Yet, he still failed to form a ruling coalition in a development that proved to be quite humiliating for him as he became the first ever prime minister to commit such a blunder.

Now, with his popularity gradually fading, he seems to be ready to stop at nothing to win the support of the rightwingers, which may be crucial for him: However, his trump card of annexing the Jordan Valley might still be turned against him as it could effectively spell an end to the two-state solution and stir up a hornet’s nest of geopolitical tensions.

#AceNewsDesk reports ……………..Published: Sept.17: 2019:

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