Israeli Government On The Brink of Collapse

Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party have split from the joint ticket with Likud and will run independently in the next election. 

Yisrael Beiteinu’s merge with Likud is no more and each party will run separately in the next elections, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an exclusive interview with Yedioth Ahronot.

Despite his decision to break away from Likud, Lieberman said he was not ruling out working with Moshe Kahlon, who is planning a comeback to politics not as part of Likud.  

In addition the foreign minister claims that if Bayit Yehudi decides to quit the coalition, it would mean Israel would head to the polls once more. “If Bennett quits – we’re going to elections. I wouldn’t go for another coalition,” he said. 

Lieberman himself plans to vote against the proposed deal, due to his objection to releasing Palestinian Israeli citizens, but said he would allow Yisrael Beiteinu ministers to vote as they desire.

Despite the difficulties to the peace talks that arise from Bennett’s refusal to vote in favor any deal to extend talks that includes the release of Israeli-Arab prisoners, Livni is optimistic such a deal is nigh.

“I think both sides, along with the Americans, want this to happen.”

The justice minister stressed that she is working closely with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and consults with him prior to making any offers to the Palestinians.

Chief PA negotiator Saeb Erakat will meet his Israeli counterpart, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho this afternoon.

The peace talks extension deal is near completion by the negotiators, but Netanyahu is delaying presentation to the cabinet until after the Biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread so that he can woo Labor into joining the coalition after Jewish Home leaves over the deal. 

Netanyahu is discussing a deal with Labor’s Herzog to bring Labor into the coalition and save the government, but Herzog is refusing to present the deal to the Labor plenum until after the peace talks deal is official.

If Labor does not join the coalition the government will fall and new elections will take place.  However with Lieberman also voting against the deal; the government is On The Brink of Collapse.

The faction leaders of the parties in the coalition have been giving Bennett the cold shoulder since his outburst, and one senior minister in the government cynically remarked that “if Bennett pulls out, no one will object to the move, and no one will shed tears.” 

Another political source noted that Bennett has recently been purposely excluded from the negotiations, and that the negotiating team has not convened out of concern that the Bayit Yehudi chairman would leak details from the meetings.

“Bennett did not know what was actually happening, and that’s why he thought that the prisoner release deal was written off. It’s probably why he released that specific threat.

Political sources close to the negotiations believe that recent contact with the Palestinians will lead to a continuation of the talks between the two parties, the release of prisoners, and the release of Jonathan Pollard.

If Bennett and Bayit Yehudi resign from the government, coalition sources expect the prime minister to try and bring the Labor party, led by Isaac Herzog, into the fold.

However with BOTH Jewish home and Lieberman also voting against the deal; the government is On The brink of Collapse.

On Saturday night, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah reiterated his party’s stance on the issue.  several top officials from left-wing or center-left parties – including HaTnua, and Yesh Atid – have threatened to leave the government entirely and go to elections in the event that a deal is not struck between Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to continue the peace process.

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