UPDATE: New Israeli Coalition Could Leave Room for Peace
Last week when Kadima joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, I questioned whether a near-unanimity government would either allow Kadima to bring Netanyahu’s government further to the center of the political spectrum or silence healthy political discourse.
At the beginning of this week, I was encouraged to see that Prime Minister Netanyahu had a letter delivered to Mahmoud Abbas, indicating that the new unity government provided an opportunity to restart negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Sources who saw the document claim that, for the first time in writing, Bibi pledged that negotiations could include a demilitarized Palestine in an effort to come closer to a two-state solution.
However, it appears as though Abbas has rejected Netanyahu’s letter, explaining that he would only return to the negotiating table if Israel halted settlement building and released Palestinian prisoners (Israeli media is reporting that Bibi’s letter called for the resumption of negotiations without preconditions).
While we at the RAC are discouraged that it looks like negotiations will remain on hold, we are hopeful that Kadima’s presence in the new unity government will positively impact the future of a mutually agreed upon two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Photo courtesy of Reuters