Quotes from text:
“There are enough hawks in Israel’s emerging coalition — including perhaps Barak — to insure that no withdrawal from occupied south Lebanon is likely to be forthcoming without firm Syrian or international guarantees for Israel’s security”

“not a single party in Barak’s new political dispensation… is likely to challenge his “red lines” of no shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, no dismantling (but probable expansion) of settlements and no withdrawal to the 1967 borders. And there are a few — like Yisrael B’aliya and NRP — who will blanch at the prospect of a Palestinian statre, even if it is truncated and demilitarised.”

“The only parties in Israel who oppose that consensus are the three Arab lists which, between them, command 10 seats in the new Knesset. And it is because they oppose the consensus that they cannot be in an Israeli government”

Excerpts:
Despite — or perhaps because of — the onslaught on Lebanon, Israel’s prime minister elect Ehud Barak’s long toil to form a government appears slowly to bearing fruit. For the Arabs — as always with Israel — it is a mixed harvest.

The first coalition agreements were signed on 25 June within hours of Israeli warplanes returning to base from Lebanon. As widely predicted, the Russian Immigrant party, Yisrael B’aliyah, landed the Interior Ministry. Less widely predicted — and ominously for the Palestinians — the far right and pro-settler National Religious Party received the Housing Ministry, a post with inordinate powers to market lands and offer tenders for settlement construction in the occupied territories. Having wooed representatives of Israel’s “right” and “centre”,

Following a terse five minute meeting with Barak on 28 June, Sharon was “sorry to say the partnership [between One Israel and Likud] was not a partnership of truth”. It was certainly going to be an equal partnership if that was what Sharon had intended.

The apparent departure of Sharon and Likud from government undoubtedly will be greeted with sighs of relief by most of the Arab world. Yet it would be unwise to cheer too loudly. The removal of Likud will probably make things easier for Barak to resume negotiations with Syria from the “point they left off” in 1996 or, more precisely, from the different points each side think they left off. But there are enough hawks in Israel’s emerging coalition — including perhaps Barak — to ensure that no withdrawal from occupied south Lebanon is likely to be forthcoming without firm Syrian or international guarantees for Israel’s “security”.

As for Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, this will be faced with an Israeli government that, unlike its Netanyahu predecessor, accurately reflects the Israeli consensus. This could mean the implementation of the 1998 Wye River agreement and a resumption of Oslo’s final status negotiations. But there is not a single party in Barak’s new political dispensation that is likely to challenge his “red lines” of no shared sovereignty in Jerusalem, no dismantling (but probable expansion) of settlements and no withdrawal to the 1967 borders. And there are a few — like Yisrael B’aliya and the NRP — who will blanch at the prospect of a Palestinian state, even if it is truncated and demilitarised.

The only parties in Israel who oppose that consensus are the three Arab lists which, between them, command 10 seats in the new Knesset. And it is because they oppose the consensus that they cannot be in an Israeli government….

Article researched, located and edited by IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis

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