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March 24, 2009
Israeli Labor joins hardliner to form coalition government

They are an odd couple of Israeli politics — but on Tuesday, hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, head of the much more liberal Labor Party, joined together to form a new government.

On Tuesday, after many hours of contentious debate, Labor voted to join the coalition led by Netanyahu’s conservative Likud Party, bringing a centrist tone to the new government and a strong voice for continuing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Daniel Levy, who has been an advisor to the Israeli government and is now director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, joins Martin Savidge to discuss how the coalition was formed, what concessions were made to Ehud Barak and where this leaves Tzipi Livni, the Kadima party leader.

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1 comment


Dear World Focus,

Martin Savidge began tonight (Tuesday 24 March) by talking of clashes between “Jewish extremists” and “Israeli Arabs”. Funny thing is the “extremist” Jews didn’t throw any rocks or Molotov cocktails. It was the counter demonstrators in Umm El Fahm that did. Ah but Hamas members blowing up buses of civilians are “militants”. Israeli Jews in a protest march who don’t do anything violent are “extremists”. Such is the double standard.

Mr. Savidge went on to interview the cherry picked Daniel Levy (introduced as a former consultant to the Israeli government, etc.). Mr. Savidge intoned as to the effect of Netanyahu’s rightwing government on the “peace process”, and Ehud Barak’s mix in all that.

How come you never ask what effect Palestinian and Arab actions have on the “peace process”? The very reason for the shift in the mood in Israel is the clear signs of constant hatred, psychological, economic, and military warfare on Israel, especially after they gave up Gaza and tried to make concessions in the West Bank.

Come on, Mr. Savidge. It wouldn’t make any difference if the Dalai Lama was Israel’s Prime Minister. The Arabs would still make war, and still press for the piecemeal dismantling of Israel, as they have done for 60 years.

How long will it take to ask about the effect of all the Arab actions on the chances of peace? Of Hamas’ constant and virulent indoctrination? Of Iran’s calls for the end to Israel? Of Mahmoud Abbas’ sticking to every hardline position of Arafat, especially on the refugee issue?

Abbas’ demand that their descendants emigrate to pre-1967 Israel shows his real intentions. It denies the rights of all the similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. It sidesteps Arab responsibility for starting the wars that led to both refugee issues.

Finally, as regards all those reports about Israeli soldiers revealing abuses in Gaza, I suggest you read the analysis by CAMERA, .

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