The Netanyahu Coalition Stumbles Toward Dissolution or Realignment

UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Tuesday, January 28 2014:

*The new trial of former Egyptian President who says that he is still President Mohammed Morsi has begun in Cairo. The current charges against Morsi concern his “jailbreak” back in 2011 during which several policemen were killed. If found guilty, Morsi faces the death penalty.

The bizarre image of the day is Morsi raging at the Court from inside his cage. Wildly gesticulating while pacing the floor, Morsi was screaming yet again from his “soundproof enclosure” that the trial is politically motivated and invalid.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Supreme Court cleared the way yesterday for the extremely popular General Al-Sisi to run for president.

A street demonstration in support of the Egyptian Army and General Al-Sisi (photograph: AFP).

A street demonstration today in support of the Egyptian Army and General Al-Sisi. Note the leonine Sisi on the placard in the left background of the picture, the Army boot, and the Egyptian flag (photograph: AFP).


There are continuing signs today that Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition is stumbling toward dissolution or realignment as Netanyahu himself seems torn over whether to accept John Kerry’s framework for continued “negotiations.”

What Netanyahu hopes will happen, of course, is that Mahmoud Abbas will reject the framework, leaving Netanyahu free to accept it. 

Such an acceptance would be largely meaningless in the current context since Mahmoud’s rejection would grind the process to a halt. Nevertheless, such an acceptance would have disastrous symbolic import as it relates to Israel’s willingness to concede more and more ground on the issues of borders, security, Jerusalem, and so-called “refugees” in future “negotiations”

So, if Abbas rejects the framework, and Netanyahu accepts it, the most likely result is that the Coalition will continue to hang together by a thread (though it is entirely possible that Bennett and Jewish Home will bolt).

But what if both Abbas and Netanyahu accept the framework?  

The most likely result is that Naftali Bennett will lead his Jewish Home Party out of the Coalition. An undetermined number of Netanyahu’s own Likud Beiteinu Party will exit the Coalition as well or lead an internal effort to replace Netanyahu as head of the Likud Beiteinu party. Bennett and the Likudniks will immediately be replaced by Isaac Herzog and his Labor Party. The religious parties may or may not join the Coalition.

The bottom line is that the Coalition will veer sharply to the left.

Finally, the most unlikely scenario is the one that your humble servant would most favor. In this scenario, Abbas accepts the framework and Netanyahu rejects it. Almost certainly, the Yesh Atid and Hatnua Parties (led by Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni) would leave the Coalition to be replaced by the religious parties. The Coalition would move to the right.

As stated, however, this seems most unlikely simply because in the current environment Netanyahu cannot refuse Kerry and the Americans.   





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