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A protester carries a placard with a picture of Netanyahu (R) and Gantz Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court of Israel has unanimously struck down petitions seeking to block Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted on corruption charges, from forming a coalition government with his former rival Benny Gantz.

Why it matters: The decision paves the way for the new government to be sworn in on May 13, bringing an end to more than a year of political deadlock in which Israel was forced to hold three consecutive elections.

The big picture: As part of the deal between Netanyahu and Gantz, Netanyahu will stay on as prime minister for at least another 18 months even as his corruption trial gets underway. The position will then rotate to Gantz, though many of Netanyahu's critics don't trust the longtime Israeli leader to leave office.

  • The coalition deal posits that Netanyahu can bring "the understandings with the Trump administration" about West Bank annexations up for debate in the cabinet, and potentially for a vote in parliament after July 1.
  • Netanyahu views the annexations as critical to his legacy, but they're widely opposed by many players in the international community. The Trump administration has told Israel it won't support the annexations unless Israel agrees to negotiate over a Palestinian state and fully endorses its Middle East peace plan.

Go deeper: Israel stunned as rivals Netanyahu and Gantz join forces

Go deeper

Aug 13, 2020 - World

Behind the scenes: How the Israel-UAE deal came together

Trump, Kushner and Netanyahu (L-R). Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty

The breakthrough in talks between the U.S., Israel and UAE on a normalization deal came two months ago, White House officials tell me.

Behind the scenes: Talks had been ongoing for more than a year, but they gained new urgency ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's July 1 deadline to move ahead on West Bank annexations.

Aug 13, 2020 - World

Joe Biden welcomes UAE-Israel deal as "historic step"

Biden and Netanyahu. Photo: Debbi Hill - Pool/ Getty Images

Joe Biden released a statement Thursday applauding the normalization of ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates as a "welcome, brave, and badly-needed act of statesmanship."

Why it matters: It's a rare moment of public praise for a deal brokered by President Trump, underscoring Biden's support for Israel at a time when some progressives have pushed — without success — for the Democratic platform to recognize the Israeli "occupation" of Palestinian territory.

Aug 13, 2020 - World

Trump: West Bank annexation is "off the table" after Israel-UAE normalize relations


West Bank annexation appears to be off the table for now, after the U.S. brokered a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Why it matters: Trump spoke about for annexation for the first time since presenting his peace plan on January 28. However, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed gave contradictory remarks about the annexation in their statements on the deal.

  • Netanyahu characterized it as a temporary suspension, while Bin Zayed said the deal stopped annexation.

For the record: Trump twice deferred questions about the differences between Israel and the UAE to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who said: “We prioritized peace in the region over West Bank annexation...you can't have peace and annexation at the same time"

What Trump is saying: “Israel agreed not to annex parts of the West Bank. It is more than taking it off the table — they agreed not to do it. This is a very smart concession by Israel. It is off the table now”.

What the U.S. ambassador is saying: Annexation is off the table now but might be discussed again in the future.

What's next: Trump also said at the press conference he wants to convene a summit between Israel and the United Arab Emirates at the White House in three weeks to sign the deal.

  • The U.S. president sees the Israel-UAE deal as one of his landmark foreign policy achievements and a boost his election campaign.
  • Trump said more Arab countries are already talking to the White House in order to follow the UAE and normalize relations with Israel.