Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Two Likely Coalitions for Netanyahu

With the final results of the Israeli election to the 19th Knesset in  two possible coalition choices for Netanyahu appear likely.  The first would be a Center-Right coalition with Yesh Atid:

Likud Beitenu      31
Yesh Atid             19
Jewish Home       11
Total                    61

Kadima with two seats could be added to provide a little safety margin. In this scenario, Netanyahu would agree to a draft of the ultra-Orthodox Haredim and Yesh Atid would go along with continued settlement. As Yesh Atid appears to put more emphasis on ending religious privilege and coercion and the ultra-Orthodox draft exemption than on achieving peace, this is possible. Certainly, if Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is anything like his father, Tommy Lapid, leader of the Shinui party of the 1990s-2006, he is closer to the Likud when it comes to borders than he is to Labor. Here is an article from Foreign Affairs that indicates that on territorial issues Lapid is very compatible with Netanyahu.

The second coalition, would be more Centrist:

Likud Beitenu    31
Yesh Atid          19
Labor                15
Total                65

Under this scenario, there would be a religious draft, an end to subsidies to the ultra-Orthodox, and settlement construction would probably be defined by some formula or committee that would allow for "natural expansion" within settlements but not much in the way of new settlements outside of Jerusalem.  There would also probably not be any renewed peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Labor leader Shelli Yakhimovich campaigned on socio-economic issues, so as long as there was a change in budget priorities towards helping out the secular poor it would probably be happy.

This Jerusalem Post article discusses various coalition possibilities and graphically illustrates four of them. And here Ben Birnbaum of The New Republic discusses the winners and losers of the latest Israeli election in terms both of parties and individuals.

The Center-Left lacks the sufficient Knesset votes to construct a stable coalition of its own without the Likud, even if it was inclined to include the Arabs--which they have not been willing to do in the past.

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