Labor: We would join coalition for peace treaty

Yacimovich says if Bayit Yehudi pulls out of gov't, Labor would replace party to back peace plan.

Labor 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A day after the Arab League said it would be open to land swaps, Labor on Wednesday repeated its commitment to enter the coalition, if necessary, should the government come close to reaching a peace treaty.
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich said on Tuesday night that her party would “support positive, significant steps toward reaching an agreement.”
“If we are on the cusp of signing a treaty and [Economy and Trade Minister Naftali] Bennett threatens to quit, we won’t be the opposition, and will reexamine entering the government,” a spokeswoman for Yacimovich explained on Wednesday.
Labor responded enthusiastically to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani’s announcement in Washington that the Arab League would be willing to accept land swaps that deviate from pre-1967 lines. Nearly all of the party’s MKs released statements welcoming the change.
The proposal fits with the 2000 Clinton Parameters that Labor supports, Yacimovich explained in an interview with Israel Radio, and Israel would earn “extra points” with the international community if the government would accept it.
MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) also said on Wednesday that his party would be willing to join the coalition to increase political stability and bring progress in peace talks.
“I have followed the Arab League’s decisions for 50 years, since I was a child, and this is the first time they are talking about ending the conflict and the 1967 borders,” he told Army Radio.
Ben-Eliezer described the development as a “historic opportunity,” saying it was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who had to make a decision on the matter.
“If due to the diplomatic issue [of land concessions], Bennett leaves and the government breaks up, Labor is in, because there is no shadow of a doubt that if such a miracle occurs, the prime minister will grab the opportunity and will enter negotiations, he knows that he has the Labor party,” Ben-Eliezer said.
Meanwhile, Bayit Yehudi is working on an option that would allow it to stay in a government that makes concessions to the Palestinians.
A senior Bayit Yehudi source explained that Bayit Yehudi didn’t oppose negotiations, but was opposed to the government giving up any territory.
However, should such concessions be authorized in a referendum, the party would accept the will of the people, the source said.
Bennett hopes to turn the current law, which requires a referendum before conceding any land under Israeli sovereignty, into to a basic law, which has constitutional status. He has faced opposition from within the coalition, as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her Hatnua party are adamantly against a referendum.
Yesh Atid is undecided on the matter.
The current law does not apply to Judea and Samaria, which is under military administration, and Bayit Yehudi is trying to find a legal solution for them to be part of new legislation.
Bayit Yehudi doesn’t oppose negotiations, faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said on Tuesday, as long as there is a “give and take, not give and give.”
“There’s nothing new [in the Arab League announcement], she said. “[Former prime minister Ehud] Olmert and [former US president Bill] Clinton talked about this. No one thinks that 400,000 people can be removed from their homes,” she said.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.