Israel is pursuing peace deals with additional Arab states, following the agreement with the United Arab Emirates earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
In a press conference Sunday evening, Netanyahu said Israel is working to reach deals normalizing the country’s relationship with additional Arab states, and predicted more agreements would be reached in the near future.”
“We are in historic times. Our peace treaty with the United Arab Emirates is the beginning of a new of peace in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said at the opening of the press conference.
“We are working on other states – peace with other states. In my estimate there will be other states, and in the near future.”
Turning to the ongoing coalition crisis and the battle over the state budget, Netanyahu said that he has agreed to the compromise deal of Derech Eretz MK Zvi Hauser, pushing off the budget deadline and preventing snap elections.
“I have decided this evening to accept the compromise deal proposed by MK Hauser. This proposal would enable funds to be sent immediately to citizens and the Israeli economy. It will prevent the need for new elections.”
“This is the time for unity, not elections.”
The prime minister criticized his coalition ally, the Blue and White party, accusing it of operating like a “government within the government”.
“I turn on the radio and hear wild attacks on the prime minister – against me. I ask ‘Who is that, someone, from the Opposition?’ No, it’s from within the government. I say ‘enough’. Either we’re working together or we’re not.”
Netanyahu’s comments come as the Knesset’s Finance Committee was set to vote on a bill to push off the deadline for passing a spending plan.
Without passage of the bill, the government will be required to pass a spending plan by Monday night – or be forced to dissolve the Knesset and declare snap elections for the fourth time in two years.
The Likud has called for a single-year budget, citing the resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic, while Blue and White has insisted on a two-year budget, as prescribed by the coalition deal.
Nor have the two sides yet agreed on a compromise bill which would give them time to reach an understanding on the budget.
Prior to the press conference, the Blue and White conference called on a Netanyahu to back passage of a compromise plan pushed by MK Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) under which the government would vote Sunday to push off the budget deadline by 100 days and freeze several high level judiciary appointments which had divided the government.
“We call on the prime minister to come to his senses and look at the good of the country and not his own personal benefit. While nine million citizens expect unity and [the government] to address security needs and the coronavirus crisis, the Likud is preoccupied with political manipulations. They are spitting in the face of the Israeli public out of personal considerations.”
Earlier on Sunday, MK Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism), who is temporarily heading the Finance Committee, declared that the committee would hold its 9:00 p.m. vote on Hauser’s bill whether or not the Likud and Blue and White had reached an agreement on the proposal.
“If there isn’t an agreement, we’ll announce to the people of Israel that we’re going to elections,” Pindrus said.
“We’ve gotten to a certain level of chaos, and we need to know what is going on,” Pindrus said, according to Channel 12.