Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to lead the Likud Party back to power amid a looming battle to end his 12-year premiership, asserting that he has no plan on giving up the leadership of his party.
In a speech to a special session of the Israeli parliament on Sunday, Netanyahu said that under his leadership “the Israeli opposition will have a strong and clear voice” if he is in a vote later in the day that is expected to oust him from power and install a new government.
“If it’s our destiny to be in the opposition, we’ll do so with our heads high until we take down this bad government, and return to lead ... our way,” said the Israeli regime’s longest-running premier, the AFP reported.
Netanyahu also claimed that “Iran is celebrating” the prospect of what he has repeatedly labeled a “dangerous” left-wing government.
The prime minister, who is grappling with corruption charges, has been the dominant Israeli politician of his generation, having also served a previous three-year term in the 1990s.
Late on Saturday, thousands of protesters once again demonstrated outside his official residence, waving “Bye Bye Bibi” signs and celebrating his highly likely departure from power.
A wide-ranging alliance united only by its animus toward Netanyahu is poised to replace the controversial Israeli ruler with right-wing Naftali Bennett as prime minister, provided that the fragile eight-party coalition wins a razor-thin majority in the parliament.
Anti-Netanyahu coalition ‘represents all of Israel’: Bennett
Speaking at the Israeli parliament on Sunday, Bennett said the anti-Netanyahu coalition “represents all of Israel.”
He also vowed to oppose the ongoing efforts in Austria’s capital, Vienna, to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Netanyahu strongly opposed as well.
“Israel won’t let Iran have nuclear weapons,” Bennett said at the special session, making a claim on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program that the Islamic Republic has repeatedly rejected.
Bennett, a former minister of military affairs under Netanyahu, said on Friday that he will “end two and a half years of political crisis.”
“We will work together, out of partnership ... and I believe we will succeed,” he said.
The anti-Netanyahu alliance emerged in the aftermath of an 11-day military confrontation between Israel and resistance groups in the blockaded Gaza Strip, which saw Israel’s heavy bombardments killing more than 250 Palestinians. The war, however, came to an end when Israel desperately implemented a unilateral ceasefire.
Hamas, a Gaza-based resistance movement, said ahead of Sunday’s Knesset session that the political developments of the regime would not change its relationship with Israel.
The shape of the Israeli cabinet would not change the “nature of our interactions with it as an occupying and usurping entity,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said in a press statement.