Beilin: Meretz will support gov't from the outside

Meretz chairman says he doesn't want early elections this year, since the Right would win the vote, thus freeze peace negotiations.

beilin 224.88  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
beilin 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Meretz will not join Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government following Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman's decision to quit the coalition, but will support it from the outside, party chairman Yossi Beilin said Wednesday. "It is easier for both parties not to marry," Beilin said at a briefing for foreign journalists in Jerusalem. "We will support the government... but it will be very difficult for us to join the government," he said. The Meretz leader said that both the 2006 Second Lebanon War and the government's social policies on religion and state would prevent his five-seat party from joining the government. "I don't see us taking collective support for these policies," he said. "It is better for both the government and us to have our support [coming] from the outside." In his remarks, Beilin conceded that he did not want to see early elections this year, since - he said - the Right would win the vote, thus freezing peace negotiations. The support of Meretz and the Israeli Arab parties would allow Olmert to retain a 70-seat majority, even if Shas quit the government. At the briefing, MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party), who has launched his own alternate peace plan, said that Israeli leaders, including Olmert, have repeatedly misled the public with false hopes of peace. "They did not bring peace, but violence, violence and more violence," Elon said. "We did not make a mistake when we tried to make peace, but we made a mistake when we don't want to learn from our mistakes," he said.