Leading article: No more excuses, Mr Netanyahu

 

Share
Related Topics

It says much about Benjamin Netanyahu's world class political skills that no one outside his circle had advance knowledge of the bold stroke by which he brought the centrist opposition Kadima party into the Israeli government in the early hours of Tuesday.

The genesis of the coup, which overturned plans for a September election, lay in raw domestic politics. Kadima's new chairman, Shaul Mofaz, found himself leading a party which polls indicated would shrink from 28 seats to just 13 if a vote went ahead. And Mr Netanyahu, facing fresh difficulties from right-wing Jewish settlers in his Likud party, also had good reason not to go to the country. But that does not alter the scale of the outcome – a coalition with 94 out of 120 Knesset seats.

The question outside Israel, of course, is what Mr Netanyahu will do now? Mr Mofaz has shown himself sceptical about a unilateral strike on Iran. In theory – and possibly in practice – Mr Mofaz's presence could act as a restraining factor in deliberations on such a strike. But it is equally likely that the politically flexible Mr Mofaz might bow to his more hawkish colleagues, if it came to that.

The second question is what impact the new coalition will have on the frozen peace process with the Palestinians? Mr Mofaz favours an interim state on 60 per cent of the West Bank, to be followed by negotiations between the two sides on final borders. Yet there is little in the coalition accord's vague reference to a "responsible peace process" to indicate Mr Netanyahu has decided to launch a genuine initiative.

What is clear, however, is that with Kadima now acting as a powerful counter weight to the far right, he could do so if he wants. That means Mr Netanyahu can no longer deploy the familiar argument that he cannot make further progress towards peace without endangering his government.

For that reason alone it is incumbent on both the US – despite the risks in the run-up to an election – and also the EU – which faces no such constraints – to nudge Mr Netanyahu towards serious negotiations with the Palestinian leadership before it is too late.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The Interview cancelled: From supporting the Ku Klux Klan to appeasing the Nazis, Hollywood has a rich history of caving in

Boyd Tonkin
A female US soldier eats breakfast while on tour in Afghanistan  

All’s fair in love and war? Not until female soldiers can join the men on the front line

Rosie Millard
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas