The Likud party’s internal court accepted Monday an appeal filed by 12 party MKs calling for the party central committee to meet on August 18, to discuss inviting Labor party to join the government..
Accepting the appeal means that until the Likud central committee makes a decision, labor cannot join the coalition.
Likud minister Uzi Landau welcomed the court’s decision, saying that ‘every signature on a coalition agreement with the Labor Party is now signed on ice.Ã¢â‚¬Â
As it stands now, most Likud central committee members are opposed to Labor joining the coalition.
The internal Likud court ruling is expected to add to the hardships Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is facing as he attempts to form a stable and pro-disengagement cabinet.
On the Labor party front, several Labor MKs attacked party leader Shimon Peres for not holding to a firm position during his Sunday meeting with Sharon.
MK Ophir Pines-Paz said: ‘I do not understand why the negotiations are continuing after Sharon refused to delay the vote on the budget. None of our demands have been met.’
MK Ephraim Sneh demanded the party meet to hear a report on the progress of the coalition talks from members of Labor’s negotiation team in the coalition talks.
MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a member of the negotiation team, told Army Radio he was outraged over not having been notified of the meeting held between Peres and Sharon.
Despite lack of progress, Labor and Likud renewed coalition talks Monday in Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan.
Sharon Confirms to Peres: No Delay on 2005 Budget Approval
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Labor Leader Shimon Peres failed Sunday to end the crisis in the Likud-Labor coalition talks.
Sharon-Peres met Sunday after a coalition crisis developed when the Likud team refused LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demand to postpone the cabinet approval of the 2005 state budget.
Yet, Labor team decided to attend the scheduled Monday meeting with the Likud team, hoping to find a way to influence the budget without postponing the cabinet vote.
Sharon refused Peres demand to defer the cabinet vote until the following Sunday, saying that such a move could be damaging to the economy.
Peres explained to the prime minister that even when the mean reason of entering the cabinet was to help implement the disengagement plan, labor canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rubber stamp the cabinet economical and social policies.
As many Likud hardliners have publicly opposed to LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s joining the cabinet unless Likud central committee approves it, it is unlikely to find the required 61 MKs to hold a Knesset session.
Peres confirmed earlier on Sunday that an agreement was reached in principle on the terms of the Gaza pullback and on general policy toward the Palestinians, explaining that LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s demand for a detailed pullout timetable was accepted.
Peres told Sunday the Italian newspaper Il Secolo that Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Sharon’s negotiators agreed to see if they can find an effective Palestinian partner,’
Former Labor leader MK Amram Mitzna on Sunday told Israel Radio that his party shouldn’t demand any ministerial portfolios, calling his party to limit its role to pushing forward the disengagement plan.
From his side, Labor negotiating team member MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said he would do ‘everything possible’ to keep his party out of the government if Labor is not allowed to play a role in formulating the budget.
Likud source accused LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team with ‘hanging from a high treeÃ¢â‚¬Â, saying that Likud will Ã¢â‚¬Å“be glad to help them climb down, but not by postponing budget approval.’
It is believed that Sharon prefers a coalition consisting of Likud, Shinui, Labor and United Torah Judaism (UTJ).
Commenting on Likud-Shas Sunday meeting, Shinui MK Eliezer Sandberg dismissed the possibility that his party would sit in a coalition with the ultra-orthodox Shas party.