Israel’s prime minister said on Sunday that he would resign if his country’s election results were not certified before the end of the week, citing the United States as the main obstacle to his removal.
Netanyahu, who has ruled Israel for more than 30 years, said in a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah that he will not serve a second term in office, citing a lack of legitimacy.
He added that the Palestinian people and Arab citizens of Israel will “never accept” him and that the two sides should settle their differences peacefully.
The election, which takes place in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was hailed by Palestinians and others who view it as a historic step toward Palestinian statehood.
Israel is the only Arab country that has a right-wing coalition, and Netanyahu has long said he would seek a two-state solution to the conflict.
But the election has drawn sharp criticism from Israel and international partners, with many Palestinians accusing him of trying to use the election to further Israeli interests.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and President-elect Naftali Bennett (L) listen to a question during a news conference at his office in Jerusalem, January 23, 2021.
REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/PoolThe election has triggered anger from some in Israel who have demanded that the president-elect resign over alleged ties to US-based billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations has backed the Palestinians.
Bennett, who was elected in February, said on Saturday that he had made clear to US President-Elect Donald Trump, who will take office in the coming weeks, that he does not trust him.
The United States, which is hosting the elections, has said it will not take sides in the election.