Israel-Gaza crisis: Israeli cabinet split as moderates want a return to peace negotiations with Palestinian Authority

But opponents say the recent war with Hamas has put territorial concessions out of the question

Jerusalem

A split has emerged in the Israeli cabinet over whether to seek the resumption of peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and its moderate leader, Mahmoud Abbas, in order to move towards an agreement on the future of the occupied West Bank and shore up Israel’s diplomatic standing after the Gaza war.

The division has come to the fore in acrimonious cabinet exchanges since the war ended last week and unusually sharp criticism by moderate ministers over the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to expropriate 988 acres of land from Palestinian owners near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank in the biggest settlement step since peace talks broke down in April.

The Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, said that the move, which was “deplored” by the UK as a further blow to hopes of a two-state peace solution, “harms the state of Israel”.

“We are after a military operation and facing a complex diplomatic reality,” Mr Lapid said. “Maintaining the support of the world was already challenging, so why was it so urgent to create another crisis with the US and the world?” Israel came under sharp criticism for the high Palestinian civilian casualty rate, which it said was due to the militant Hamas movement using the population as “human shields”.

The leading proponents of a postwar diplomatic push are the Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, and Mr Lapid, who argue that the war with Hamas has underscored the need to boost Mr Abbas and work together with Egypt, Jordan and other moderate Arab states. But Mr Netanyahu and the Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon, say Israel’s experience with Hamas puts territorial concessions to Mr Abbas out of the question. Mr Yaalon has argued in recent interviews that any land vacated in the occupied West Bank would end up being used, like territory vacated by Israel in Gaza in 2005, for firing rockets towards Ben Gurion airport and greater Tel Aviv.

And Mr Netanyahu indicated in significant remarks in July that were largely missed due to the focus on Gaza that Israel would never agree to full Palestinian sovereignty and an end to its security control in the West Bank. Israel, he said, had to ensure that “we don’t get another Gaza in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]”.

He argued, according to The Times of Israel website, that the closer your enemies are physically to your borders, the more they’ll try to tunnel under those borders and fire rockets at you.

Mr Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said that his April decision to break off peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority because its cabinet was formed with the participation of Hamas “still stands”. Ms Livni’s position by contrast is that Israel should have no hesitations about negotiating with Mr Abbas.

“We are seeing two very different approaches; the question is: can they continue much longer to be in the same cabinet?” said Leslie Susser, diplomatic editor of The Jerusalem Report. But, he adds, recent polls have shown a significant drop in support for Ms Livni’s Hatnua party and Mr Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, something that could deter them from breaking up the coalition right now.

Abdullah Abdullah, a Palestinian legislator who supports Mr Abbas, said of the Israeli split: “The Israeli cabinet is in turmoil and there are differences. But [Netanyahu] won’t change until he sees there’s a price internationally.”

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam