Hanegbi urges Likud, Kadima to ‘renew dialogue’

In ‘Post’ op-ed, ex-MK says Knesset’s 2 biggest parties should reexamine possibility of working together.

November 22, 2010 01:06
2 minute read.
MK TZAHI HANEGBI exits the Jerusalem Magistrate’s

Hanegbi and wife 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Tzahi Hanegbi, the former Kadima MK who led his party’s abortive negotiations on forming a coalition with the Likud after last year’s inconclusive general elections, is urging the Knesset’s two largest parties to “renew the dialogue” and reexamine whether they can work together to best advance Israel’s interests.

In an op-ed that appears in Monday’s Jerusalem Post, Hanegbi recalls that he and the Likud’s Gideon Sa’ar, in consultation with their respective party leaders in March 2009, quickly established that the differences between their parties’ key positions were bridgeable. But the Likud-Kadima coalition talks were superseded, he notes, when Ehud Barak won Labor’s support for joining the government, and thus Binyamin Netanyahu was able to assemble his current coalition.

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Things have changed over the past 20 months, however, writes Hanegbi, who suspended himself from the Knesset earlier this month pending a legal appeal against a perjury conviction involving moral turpitude, and he highlights two key developments that might contribute to a successful Likud-Kadima partnership where the previous effort failed.

First, he notes, the prime minister has adopted “a more flexible stance” on diplomatic issues, “bringing him much closer to Kadima’s centrist views.”

This is significant even if it is only a case of “tactical” flexibility, designed to widen the prime minister’s room to maneuver with the American government, argues Hanegbi, who heads Kadima’s Party Affairs Committee.

And second, he adds, the Labor Party has realized that it will lose its relevance for moderate voters if it remains in a coalition that is not making substantive progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track.

“The combination of these two developments leads one to conclude that Netanyahu, if he truly wants to proceed in the diplomatic process, as he so fervently declares, will lose his current coalition,” writes Hanegbi.

“If he capitulates to his partners on the Right, he will lose the Labor Party, and then his shrunken coalition will be living on borrowed time.”

For these reasons, he urges a serious new effort by the Likud and Kadima to check afresh whether they can “operate side by side to advance Israel’s interests.”

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