Following a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert,
Israeli Defense Minister, Amir Peretz, said that he would recommend
that Labor party remains in the government coalition, and that the
party will receive benefits as an incentive to remain in the coalition.
Peretz agreed that Israel Our Home party (Yisrael Beiteinu) will join the government in exchange the the promised “perks” to Labor to remain in coalition.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that five of the nineteen Labor party legislators signed a latter calling on the party to oppose the inclusion of Avigdor Lieberman, into the government coalition.
The five members of Knesset who opposed the inclusion of Lieberman are Avishai Braverman, Danny Yatom, Nadia Hilou, Shelly Yachimovich and Raleb Majedele.
The five MK's signed a letter saying that “sitting together with Lieberman would legitimize his perception that backs that expulsion of Arabs and would legitimize him as a leader”.
The letter as published by Haaretz, also reads; “joining this government would harbor a Netanyahu-style economic policy and a diplomatic deadlock that could lead to a military escalation".
Labor party members of the Arab sectors had threatened to quit the party if it votes in favor of including Lieberman into the coalition.
Peretz and Olmert agreed on Wednesday to appoint Labor member of Knesset, Ephraim Sneh, as a deputy defense Minister, and to establish a committee for the non Jewish sector, the committee will be headed by Amir Peretz.
After his meeting with Olmert, Peretz stated that he would recommend the central committee of the Labor party to decide on remaining in the government coalition during its Sunday session.
Meretz party head, Yossi Beilin, said on Wednesday that he would be glad to join forces with Labor MK's who oppose remaining in the coalition after the inclusion of Lieberman in the government.
Beilin said that he and Peretz reached a conclusion that “it is an awful thing to remain in the government despite the addition of Lieberman”.
On Tuesday, Peretz and Beilin met prior to Peretz meeting with Olmert, but the meeting took place after Olmert and Lieberman had already signed an agreement finalizing the inclusion of Yisrael Beietinu into the government.
Meanwhile, Balad party chairman, MK Azmi Bishara, slammed Peretz for using the Arab issues as a justification to remain in the coalition, Haaretz reported.
Bishara slammed the creation of a new committee for Arab affairs which Olmert offered Peretz to head in an attempt to persuade him to remain in the coalition.
“It is absurd to put the issue of Arab residents as a cover for adding Lieberman to the government”, Bishara said.