At last, the Likud-Beitenu coalition negotiations team has pulled the biggest rabbit out of its hat, exposing in the process that on the two-state solution there’s no daylight between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and super-leftist Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On.
As Yesh Atid negotiators have told the daily Makor Rishon, the Likud-Beitenu team threatened them on Thursday that their political pact with Habayit Hayehudi will end up thwarting the possibility of dismantling Judea and Samaria settlement as part of a future agreement on a Palestinian state.
According to Yair Lapid’s representative at the coalition talks, two Likud reps told them on Thursday: “We’re going towards tough decisions. If you don’t break up your pact with Bennett, we won’t be able to uproot settlements should there be a need for tough decisions. Together – we could do it.”
Makor Rishon noted that a similar statement was attributed to Prime Minister Netanyahu himself during his chat with Yair Lapid immediately after the elections, but it was later denied. Yesterday, Lapid’s people stated unequivocally that they’d heard that same, explicit argument from the Likud-Beitenu team.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the Likud negotiators have enhanced their efforts to bring the Haredi parties into the government, as a means of pressuring the Jewish Home team.
If you detect a note of hysteria in the Likud’s scrambling efforts to cobble together a government, you are not mistaken. On Saturday, Netanyahu is expected to ask President Peres for a two-week extension to be able to continue his efforts, and the White House has not been helping to alleviate the pressure by leaking that President Obama would be staying home to improve his golf game if a new government is not at hand before his visit to the Holy Land.
Naturally, this bodes very well for the Lapid-Bennett team, whose cue at this point is simply to stay the course, don’t flinch, and Netanyahu would have to capitulate.
Better him than the settlements.