Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled his planned visit to the United Nations General Assembly due to the “political context” in Israel, sources in his office told AFP Wednesday.
Initial results from Tuesday’s general election show Netanyahu’s Likud party tied with the Blue and White alliance of his main challenger, former army chief Benny Gantz.
According to Israeli media, with more than 90 percent of ballots counted, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud had 31 seats, while Gantz’s Blue and White took 32 places in Israel’s 120-member parliament.
If the results hold, it will be a major setback for Netanyahu, who hoped to form a right-wing coalition similar to his current administration as he faces possible corruption charges in the weeks ahead.
The election was Israel’s second in five months, and President Reuven Rivlin, who must appoint someone to form the next government, has stressed the “need to avoid a third”.
Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, suffered one of the biggest defeats of his political career after the previous poll.
Likud and its right-wing and religious allies won a majority, but he failed to form a coalition and opted for a second election rather than risk Rivlin picking someone else to try.
Netanyahu had been due to meet US President Donald Trump on the fringes of the General Assembly next week.
Trump said Saturday that he Netanyahu were to discuss the possibility of moving forward on a “mutual defence” treaty between the allies.
Netanyahu went further.
“I look forward to our meeting at the UN to advance a historic defence treaty between the United States and Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu has in the past used speeches at the podium to accuse arch-foe Iran of working secretly to develop nuclear arms and denounce its support for militant groups against Israel.
© 2019 AFP
WATCH: Protesters celebrate as Chase Bank was set ablaze during Portland protests
Trump alerts ‘active-duty U.S. military police’ for possible deployment to Minnesota: report
President Donald Trump's administration is contemplating using active-duty U.S. troops in an attempt to quell the protests in Minneapolis, the Associated Press reported early Saturday morning.
As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests," the AP reported.
"Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations," the AP explained.
John Roberts joins liberals as Supreme Court rejects challenge to Newsom’s COVID-19 limits on California church attendance
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California. The San Diego area church tried to challenge the state's limits on attendance at worship services:
The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.