Unity deal unlikely even if Netanyahu goes left

Senior officials in Likud and Kadima have endorsed the idea of a unity government in recent days, but sources doubtful move will occur.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
May 23, 2011 22:03
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu open mouth 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Yin Dongxun)

 
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It is extremely unlikely that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will join together in a national-unity government even if the prime minister agrees to US President Barack Obama’s plan to restart negotiations with the Palestinians, sources in Likud and Kadima said Monday.

Senior officials in Likud and Kadima have endorsed the idea of a unity government in recent days including dovish MKs Dan Meridor (Likud) and Michael Eitan (Likud), Kadima faction chair Dalia Itzik and former MK Tzahi Hanegbi.

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Itzik met with Eitan and they agreed that a unity government was necessary. Eitan urged Itzik to speak about the issue with Netanyahu.

Itzik told Yediot Aharonot that the campaign to delegitimize Israel internationally required unity and that it was the will of the people, but even she admitted in an interview with The Jerusalem Post two weeks ago that it was unlikely to happen.

“As an almost fervent supporter of a unity government, and as someone who failed abysmally in my attempts to establish one after the last elections, I am sorry to say – I’ll say something that I don’t think many politicians are willing to say – that a lot of ego prevented a unity government,” she said.

“At the end of the day, I imagined a project-based government that put egos aside in order to advance a plan that took into consideration the diplomatic-security picture.”

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Itzik added that no one was exclusively to blame for the lack of a unity government but that had there been a diplomatic initiative, it would have been easier for such a coalition to arise.

“It is not just the fault of the prime minister,” she said.

“Bibi is not guilty in everything. He is quite responsible for a large part of it, but not everything that happened is because of him. It would be stupid and superficial to say that it was. It is correct to say that the lack of initiative that was here – any initiative – is a tactical and practical error.”

Hanegbi told Israel Radio that only a diplomatic initiative could save Israel from crisis and that only with Kadima in the government could Netanyahu advance such a plan.

He said it was not too late for the largest parties to join forces, but he expressed doubt that Netanyahu, Livni, or Kadima’s number two, MK Shaul Mofaz, would be interested in unity at this stage.

Likud officials said the current government was stable and allowed Netanyahu nearly free reign on the diplomatic front so there was no reason to change the coalition.

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