Monday, January 17, 2011

Smaller but muscular majority will help stable government advance Peace

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's aides said Monday that he believes that the Labor Party split will actually help advance the peace process with the Palestinians.

According to Netanyahu, now that the Labor ministers left the government, the Palestinians will understand that the Israeli government will not collapse and therefore they will have no choice but to conduct direct negotiations with Israel.

"The Palestinians saw the threats of the Labor ministers and toughened their stance because they thought the Israeli government will collapse. Now they understand that the government is going nowhere and now they will return to negotiations."

Minister Michael Eitan, of the ruling Likud party, said "as a result of the split in Labor the coalition may shrink from 74 members to 66. A coalition of 66 is even stronger than a coalition of 74, and together we'll lead Israel to the next goals."

Eitan mentioned that Labor members who did not split from the party often voted against the government's line. "When some ministers do not see eye to eye with the prime minister, do not accept the pace at which he is moving the diplomatic process forward and do not keep these reservations to themselves…They should quit the government."

In short: The strengthening of the coalition sends a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama that they cannot just wait for Netanyahu's government to fall. They are stuck with him for the foreseeable future, so they will have to deal with him now.