ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | Losing Coalition Partners 29.2.04

Losing Coalition Partners

29 February 2004

By Yisrael Ne'eman

Last week Labor party chairman Shimon Peres was in the US and spoke in favor of Israel evacuating all territory, not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). It seems he did not even speak of territorial exchange, as do many in the Left, but rather the inference was that over 200,000 Jews will need to be evacuated from their homes. Even Yossi Beilin and the Geneva Understandings advocates see territorial exchange as a way of limiting civil conflict between the state and those who live across the 1967 Green Line. Peres explained that should Israel keep 10% of the West Bank, that would still constitute 100% of a the conflict in the eyes of the Arabs. Peres is walking on dangerous ground. He seems willing to risk civil conflict in Israel the moment he demands the removal of areas in consensus, such as Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Givat Zeev, Alfe Menashe and other large developments close to Israels old demarcation line.

If this is the new Labor position, then the party cannot be a coalition partner should the right wing National Religious Party (NRP) and National Union quit the government over the Gaza withdrawal. Israels political center seeks to minimize any possibility of violence between the government and Jewish residents in the territories.

This writer also stands corrected over previously having favored Labor partnership in the government should the Right leave.

Not to be outdone, Housing Minister and NRP leader Effi Eitam declared in a TV interview that he sees nothing wrong with the 102 illegal outpost settlements build across the old border. He was emphatic over the right of families to live in their homes wherever they chose to build.

Hence the interviewer asked about the tens of thousands of illegal structures in the Arab sector and especially queried the minister about the Beduin takeover of hundreds of thousands of acres of state lands in the Negev. Forced into being balanced, Eitam sided with the Beduin as well, thereby justifying lawlessness and weakening the central authority of the State of Israel in dealing with the massive problem of squatters and the destruction of state lands.

Eitam will go to any extreme to stand behind the settler movement, even if it means eliminating any possibility for planned Negev development. Worse yet, he is willing to run roughshod over the law, whether it pertains to Jews or Arabs.

The Sharon government may end up losing its majority in the Knesset should the government decide on the much discussed Gaza evacuation. With Labor having shifted far to the left there will be no options other than early elections well before anyone expected.