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Netanyahu trys to wag the dog: Israel was preparing to delay election due to possible Gaza war

Published: September 17, 2019
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Source: haaretz

<i>Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, State of Israel, Image Source: <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/chathamhouse/26364690219'>Chatham House</a></i>
Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, State of Israel, Image Source: Chatham House

 

Israel's National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat met with the head of the Central Elections Committee to prepare him for the possibility of postponing the general election slated for Tuesday due to a military operation, Haaretz has learned.

Haaretz reported earlier Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aborted last week plans for an unusual military move in the Gaza Strip, which would likely have had far-reaching implications.

He did so at the last moment due to a legal opinion by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit that the plan required the approval of the security cabinet.

Officials involved in the matter said in response to the report that the attorney general was the one who asked the senior adviser to update election board chief, Justice Hanan Melcer, about a possible escalation.

The dramatic discussion over a potential military action began Tuesday night. A few hours earlier, Netanyahu had gone through a disturbing experience: Gaza-based Islamic Jihad operatives fired a Katyusha rocket at the southern city Ashdod, where he was speaking at a campaign rally.

After the rally, Netanyahu convened senior defense officials at army headquarters in Tel Aviv for urgent consultations. Afterward, his office distributed a picture of him with the senior officials in question – Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Shin Bet director Nadav Argaman, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, National Security Adviser Ben-Shabbat, Military Intelligence director Tamir Hayman and Netanyahu’s military secretary, Avi Blot. All wore grave faces.

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