Gaza held ‘hostage’ by Netanyahu's domestic political agenda

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using an offensive against a Palestinian militant group in Gaza to try to patch together a coalition of national cohesion, Leila Shahid, the Palestinian Authority's former ambassador to the EU, tells FRANCE 24.

Shahid spoke to FRANCE 24 as Israeli opposition politician Benny Gantz was racing to form a coalition government before an 11:59pm deadline on Wednesday.

In a September re-vote, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party and Gantz's centrist Blue and White coalition came out neck and neck, with both falling short of the 61 seats needed for a majority.

Gantz's attempts to form a government have been complicated by an outbreak of violence last week between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group in the Gaza Strip, with his chances of becoming prime minister depending on the support of Arab groups in parliament. 

Gantz needs support from the Arab List – Palestinian Israeli citizens – who may support his government just to get rid of Netanyahu, said Shahid. 

Netanyahu, who has recently doubled down on anti-Arab rhetoric, faces being ousted as prime minister for the first time since 2009.

Click on the player above to watch the full FRANCE 24 interview.