Labor repeated its commitment to enter the government, if necessary, should it come close to reaching a peace treaty on Wednesday, a day after the Arab League said it would be open to land swaps.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said Tuesday night that her party will “support positive, significant steps toward reaching an agreement.”
“If we are on the cusp of singing a treaty and [Economic and Trade Minister Naftali] Bennett threatens to quit, we won’t be the opposition, and will reexamine entering the government,” a spokeswoman for Yacimovich explained Wednesday.
Labor responded enthusiastically to Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani’s announcement in Washington that the Arab League would be willing to deviate from pre-1967 lines. Nearly all of the party’s MKs released statements welcoming the change.
The proposal fits with the “Clinton Outline” that Labor supports, Yacimovich explained in an interview with Israel Radio, and would give Israel “extra points” in the world if the government would accept it.
MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) also said Wednesday that his party would be willing to join the coalition to increase political stability and bring progress in peace talks.
“I have followed the Arab League’s decisions for 50 years, since I was a child, and this is the first time they are talking about ending the conflict and the 1967 borders,” he told Army Radio.
Ben-Eliezer described the development as a “historic opportunity,” saying Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would have to make a decision on the matter.
“If due to the diplomatic issue, Bennett leaves and the government breaks up, Labor is in, because there is no shadow of a doubt that if such a miracle occurs,the prime minister will grab the opportunity and will enter negotiations, he knows that he has the Labor party,” Ben-Eliezer stated.
Meanwhile, the Bayit Yehudi is working on an option that would allow it to stay in a government that makes concessions.
A senior Bayit Yehudi source explained that, the Bayit Yehudi doesn’t oppose negotiations, but is against the government giving up any territory.
However, if such concessions are authorized in a referendum, the party will accept the will of the people, the source said.
Bennett hopes to turn the current law, requiring a referendum before conceding any land under Israeli sovereignty, in to a basic law, which has constitutional status. He has been met with opposition from within the coalition, as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her party are adamantly against a referendum, and Yesh Atid is undecided.
The current law does not include Judea and Samaria, which is not under Israeli sovereignty, and the Bayit Yehudi is trying to find a legal solution for them to be part of new legislation.
The Bayit Yehudi doesn’t oppose negotiations, faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said on Tuesday, as long as there is a “give and take, not give and give.”
“There’s nothing new [in the Arab League announcement. Former prime minister Ehud] Olmert and [former US president Bill] Clinton talked about this. No one thinks that 400,000 people can be removed from their homes,” she said.
JPost.com staff contributed to this report.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Labor-could-join-govt-if-Arab-proposal-adopted-311679