Liberman issues ultimatum to Netanyahu, Gantz: ‘Whoever doesn’t compromise, we’ll join the other side’

Liberman warned the two leaders that he would take action against the one who stood in the way of a unity government. 

By World Israel News Staff

Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the Israel Beiteinu party, issued a threat on Saturday evening on Israel’s Channel 12, warning both the Likud and Blue and White parties that if they don’t form a unity government, he’ll punish whichever side he feels responsible by joining with the other.

Liberman said he planned to reach out to both Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and Likud chairman and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to hold a meeting between the three of them.

“Whoever won’t compromise, who won’t make the right decision – we will support the other side,” Liberman said.

The Israel Beiteinu leader says that Gantz should accept President Reuven Rivlin’s suggestion that Netanyahu serve as prime minister first, but be allowed to step down temporarily to deal with a possible indictment on corruption charges.

On the other side, Netanyahu should accept Gantz’s demand that he negotiate only for the Likud party and not for the larger right-wing bloc that he formed shortly after the elections.

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“Gantz should accept the president’s outline, Netanyahu should say goodbye to the bloc,” Liberman said. “I expect from the two of them to make the right decisions. Whoever doesn’t know how to do this in the meeting with me — we will draw conclusions and support the other side.”

Liberman, whose party won eight seats in the September 17 elections, has been regarded as the kingmaker as he could give either of the parties enough Knesset seats to form a government without the other.

However, he has said he wants to see a unity government between Likud and Blue and White. His only condition is that haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, parties not be included.

Liberman opposes a third round of elections as well as a straight election just for the prime ministerial spot.

Netanyahu said on Sunday at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, “I agree with Liberman that there is no genuine need to drag the State of Israel into another election. It is both possible and necessary to form a broad national unity government as the President has proposed. It is still not too late to do this.”