Netanyahu has probably spent his Passover vacation trying to reach a deal that would enable the settlers to save face and stay in the government while peace talks continue. The Right is launching campaigns to convince right-wing politicians to vote ‘no.’
With a little more than a week left until the formal deadline for the Israeli-American-Palestinian talks, efforts to extend the negotiations still haven’t produced a breakthrough. Nevertheless, a last-minute deal shouldn’t be ruled out either; often times, the most productive political maneuvering takes place when no news is reported.
On the Israeli side, the best indicators – as always – come from the far right of the political map. A Page 1 ad in Haaretz’s weekend edition, sponsored by The Joint Headquarters (an umbrella organization for some far-right groups), targeted Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has been said to be behind “a secret deal.” Liberman has previously announced his opposition to a prisoner release that would allow an extension of the talks. The ad, however, claimed that some ministers in his party will vote yes, so the deal will get the necessary votes despite Liberman’s personal nay.
The ad was printed again today in Haaretz, this time on page three. There was also a new front-page ad by the Joint Headquarters, this time targeting Likud ministers Silvan Shalom and Limor Livnat. Livnat was considered a hardliner in the past, but in today’s Likud she is a pragmatist, and therefore a target of the Right. Shalom would like to win his party’s support in his upcoming presidential bid, so calling him out makes a lot of sense for the settlers. This is all part of internal Likud tensions between radical settler groups and the old guard, which still backs Netanyahu.
Another battle front for the hardliners is taking place within the Jewish Home party, where party leader Naftali Bennett is doubling down with inflammatory threats against the prisoner release deal, while others – most notably, proactive Housing Minister Uri Ariel – would like to keep their place in the government even if the negotiations continue. Ariel is willing to bet that nothing will come out of the talks, and meanwhile he would like to...Read More