Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu succeeded in preventing his governing
coalition from unraveling over the weekend following the announcement of
forthcoming negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett satisfied by receiving a commitment from the
Americans that they would not say the talks would be based on pre-1967
That enabled Bennett to claim victory, despite Netanyahu
agreeing to release dozens of terrorists from prison.
commitment that the talks will be held discretely could keep Bayit Yehudi in the
coalition for an extended period of time, even as Israel’s chief negotiator,
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, makes serious concessions at Netanyahu’s
“As long as we are not giving up our territorial assets, we are
staying in the coalition,” said Bayit Yehudi faction head Ayelet
Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid),
who is the cabinet’s most dovish minister, hinted that if Bayit Yehudi left the
government, Labor could come instead.
“If God forbid there be a crisis in
the coalition, there is a majority for the peace process in the Knesset and
there will be a government that can continue it,” Peri said.
leader Shelly Yacimovich said her party would only join if a peace agreement had
been reached with the Palestinians and the Right leaves the government in
“We would not want to be the reason peace is not reached,”
At a meeting with President Shimon Peres, Yacimovich
pledged to defend Netanyahu from the extreme Right in the Likud and the
coalition. She stressed that it was important to remember that the goal is not
the process itself but reaching an agreement.
Israel Katz (Likud Beytenu) questioned the ability of Palestinian Authority
chairman Mahmoud Abbas to lead negotiations toward a peace agreement with
Israel, saying that “he had less control over Palestinians than Syrian
[President Bashar] Assad has control over Syria” at the moment.
nobody would seriously consider giving Assad land in his current situation, it
is impossible to seriously think about transferring the control of territories
to the Palestinians,” Katz said prior to entering the weekly cabinet
The terror victims association Almagor intends to protest
against releasing murderers in several ways. It cosponsored an Internet ad
campaign with Arabs praising Netanyahu.
Families of terror victims intend
to come to a special meeting of the Knesset Interior Committee on
Later in the week, they are to pitch a tent outside Netanyahu’s
official residence in Jerusalem, near where the Schalit family protested for the
freedom of their kidnapped soldier son Gilad.