Netanyahu takes office in deal that could see West Bank annexation

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Benjamin Netanyahu has been sworn in as Israel’s prime minister, heading a unity government in which he will rotate the leadership with his former rival, Benny Gantz, in a deal that could see the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.

The coalition agreement ends a deadlock that has dragged on for more than 500 days. In that time, the country has held three back-to-back elections with neither side clinching an outright victory.

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The Netanyahu-Gantz deal also hints at the potential annexation of parts of the Palestinian territories this summer, stating that Netanyahu could bring Donald Trump’s “vision for peace” to the cabinet for discussion from 1 July.

The US plan, pre-emptively rejected by Palestinian leaders, gives Israel full military control over Palestinians, much of their land and all of Jerusalem and Israeli settlements. Palestinians are provided with the option of economic incentives, land swaps and the prospect of some form of self-rule, but with significant caveats.

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