Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu awaits the response of Israel Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak regarding the possibility the Labor Party will join the coalition.

If Mr. Barak, the current defense minister, makes it clear to Mr. Netanyahu he can pass a resolution in the Labor Party convention to join the government, the prime minister-designate will request an extension of 14 additional days from Israeli President Shimon Peres for the purpose of continuing the coalition negotiations.

If it becomes apparent that the possibility of a unity government is completely off the table, Mr. Netanyahu will make every effort to finish assembling his government by Sunday.

The proposal Mr. Netanyahu submitted to Mr. Barak included five portfolios, the most senior of which was to keep Mr. Barak as defense minister. In addition, the Labor Party was offered two deputy ministers, including the deputy defense minister and a committee chair.

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At the beginning of the week, Messrs. Barak and Netanyahu met at the Barak home in the Akirov Towers in Tel Aviv. The two have several channels of communication and mediators who convey proposals.

In addition to ministry positions, the Labor Party has demands regarding the government guidelines in the areas of foreign and economic policy.

Senior Labor Party figures say Mr. Barak is doing work on the ground and his people are speaking with convention members trying to persuade them to join the coalition. The opponents of joining the government are also speaking with the convention members to ensure if a proposal is raised, it will not be approved.

While it is believed that there is still a chance, although not a high one, that the Labor Party will join the government, the assessment regarding Kadima is that Chairwoman Tzipi Livni has decided to go into the opposition.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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