We look into who controls what in the occupied West Bank as its total annexation is the top priority of Israel's new yet bloated government.

Israel finally has a government after three consecutive snap elections and more than a year-long political impasse between the rival factions who were unable to strike a deal and assemble a ruling coalition. 

The country's longest-serving Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was sworn in on Sunday along with his rival-turned-partner, the Blue and White party leader, Benny Gantz.

In his first parliamentary address for the new government, Netanyahu vowed to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, which is expected to happen on1st July

 "These areas of the country are birthplaces of the Jewish nation. It's time to apply Israeli law over them," Netanyahu told the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

"This won't distance peace, it will bring it closer. These settlements will be part of Israel in any scenario." 

Palestinian officials have threatened to abolish bilateral agreements with Israel if it went ahead with the annexation, which will undermine the two-state solution. 

The map shows who controls what in the occupied West Bank.
The map shows who controls what in the occupied West Bank. (TRTWorld)

For several decades, the occupied West Bank has never been a free Palestinian domain but an area where de facto annexation already exists on the ground with 400,000 Jewish settlers occupying 40 percent of the Palestinian jurisdiction. The Jewish settlers live there with full rights and privileges as Israeli citizens. 

Although Netanyahu deployed a bold rhetoric in the newly-elected parliament, he will have to navigate several fault lines within the ruling coalition. 

Firstly, both leaders will need to keep their supporters, who have opposing views on several issues, under a single umbrella.

While Netanyahu’s Likud is right-wing, Benny Gantz represents the centre-left of the country. The two political stances are very different from each other.

The coalition partners differ on the extent of judicial authority and the role of ultraorthodox groups in the military.

Gantz believes in protecting the independence of courts, while Netanyahu is accused of curbing judicial freedom under the garb of making judicial reforms.

The new government will also have to witness the corruption trial against Netanyahu, an elephant-in-the-room situation between the two coalition partners.

Benny Gantz believes the annexation of occupied Palestinian lands should be carried out with an international consent, while Netanyahu only believes it necessary to cooperate with the US. 

Two-headed structure 

As per the coalition agreement, Gantz will replace Netanyahu after 18 months and until then, he will serve as the Defense Minister. 

After the swearing in, Gantz was quick to distribute ministerial portfolios. The number of ministers increased, and other posts were made. All of this will cost the regime at least $225 million per year, according to Yohanan Plesner, president of the nonpartisan Israel Democracy Institute. 

The size of the new government has drawn criticism from several quarters. The Jerusalem Post wrote a scathing editorial, questioning the rationale of having such a distended government. 

"All of this money on a ministry that will probably not be around in a few years and at a time when 20% of the country’s workforce is still unemployed. On a daily basis we hear tragic stories of small businesses that are going bankrupt and of companies that are laying off more and more employees. And this is what the government needs to advance 'Communal Strengthening and Development?'"