Leader: Jewish Home Would Leave Israeli Coalition Over Peace Talks

Negotiations Would Mean End to Current Coalition

All efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in any serious manner were shown to be a non-starter today, as Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett threatened to withdraw his party if the government agrees to negotiations around the 1967 border.

The 1967 border has been brought up repeatedly as a “starting point” for talks, and the Arab League proposals have been based on the assumption of territory swaps around the 1967 border, allowing Israel to retain settlement blocs by exchanging other territory for them.

The coalition holds 68 seats at present, and needs at least 60 to maintain its majority. Jewish Home holds 12 seats, so they could collapse the coalition by themselves. They may not have to, however, as other right-wing factions, including several MPs in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own Likud Party, have similarly opposed peace talks.

On the other hand, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich offered her party’s support for the peace process. They hold 15 seats and could conceivably offer a path to a center-left and center-right alternative coalition.

Netanyahu has denied reports that Israel might return to peace talks on that basis, but Bennett said he had to “reassure his constituency” that his faction considers any such talks a non-starter.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.