Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu returned from Sharm e-Sheikh on Tuesday to threats from both the Right and Left to break up his coalition.
Minister Shalom Simhon, who previously was Labor’s most persistent
advocate for remaining in the coalition, issued a warning to Netanyahu
at a meeting of Labor’s Arab sector at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba
that was organized by MK Ghaleb Majadle.
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“We all want peace and hope that the talks will succeed,” Simhon said.
is why we entered the government. If the process fails and it will
become apparent that there is no progress, there will no longer be a
reason for us to remain in the government.”
Majadle said, “Netanyahu must decide whether he wants to be a historic leader or prime minister of the settlers.”
Labor chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak defended the prime minister at the event.
“There is an opportunity now and it’s important to take advantage of
it,” Barak said. “I am convinced that our influence is more effective
from inside the government than it would be from outside. I hope there
will be a breakthrough. It depends on all the sides involved.”
On the right wing of the coalition, Habayit Hayehudi stepped up its
rhetoric, threatening to pull out of the government if Netanyahu gave in
to American demands to continue the freeze.
“Our version is very simple,” MK Uri Orbach said. “After the period of
the freeze, [if] Jewish homes are not built in Judea and Samaria, there
will also not be a Jewish home (Habayit Hayehudi in Hebrew) in the
Orbach’s party chairman, Science and Technology Minister Daniel
Herschkowitz, was more measured in his response to American reiterations
that they expected Netanyahu to continue the 10-month-long partial
building moratorium in Jewish communities in the West Bank.
Herschkowitz said that he intends to meet with the other heads of all of
the coalition parties to make sure that support to end the freeze
remains strong in the face of potential pressures.
“The freeze must be concluded in another two weeks, throughout Judea and
Samaria, as the cabinet decided,” said Herschkowitz. “There is not a
majority in the government to support any alternative scenario.”