It was a familiar story today when Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party met with their centrist rival Kadima (the top vote-getting in this month’s elections) on forming a coalition. A lot of talk, no agreements, and both sides blaming the other for the failure.
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni says her party’s quest for a two-state solution was the only way to ensure international support against Iran, while Netanyahu says that he was “prepared to go a very long way towards unity.” In the end, the differences remained too great and unlike the previous failed meetings no announcement was made of any planned future one.
With partnerships with Kadima and the Labor Party seemingly closed to him, Netanyahu’s options for a coalition are rapidly dwindling. His only obvious route now would be the one he’s been struggling to avoid: a coalition made up solely of the far-right bloc.
While all of these parties supported Netanyahu’s bid to get the first opportunity to form a government, the rancor between the secularist right-wing and the religious right wing would leave this already narrow coalition split on a number of key issues, and the Yisrael Beiteinu party is demanding enormous concessions to take part. All this adds up to Netanyahu Administration potentially being a very short one, and Israel’s standing in the international community seriously damaged by a massive shift right-ward.