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Ministers say Netanyahu concerned over cabinet dissent

A day before the ceasefire ends, the Prime Minister is worried about the possibility that the cabinet will reject the developing agreement. 'We didn't get enough details, Netanyahu is trying to set a trap for us," ministers say.

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 08.13.14, 01:27 / Israel News

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations will convene Wednesday for the third and final day of talks during the current 72-hour ceasefire, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is concerned of the outcome of the cabinet vote on any agreement reached in Cairo.

 

 

Netanyahu summoned senior ministers late Tuesday night to discuss the developments in Cairo and to have a "preparation talk" as one minister called his conversation with the prime minister.

 

The impression gleaned by the ministers invited to the talks was that Netanyahu was troubled and worried from the possibility that the cabinet would reject the developing agreement.

 

"He is worried it will not pass," said one of the ministers. "He is preparing for the day after, trying to soften the ministers. There are more than a few problems with this agreement, and Netanyahu is concerned about the possibility that we will say no, and then he will be mired in an international disaster."

 

Though the cabinet agreed to send a delegation for the talks with Hamas in Cairo, there were more than a few clauses in the agreement that were deeply divisive. One of the issues revolves around the wages of Hamas officials in Gaza.

 

"How do we determine who gets paid and who doesn't? Who supervises this money?" asked one of the cabinet ministers, who had a difficult conversation with Netanyahu.

 

"If a nurse in a hospital receives her salary, maybe Mohammed Deif will also receive one. We need to supervise this cash."

 

Netanyahu's worries have opened the door for demands from his coalition partners. Cabinet ministers are formulating demands that Netanyahu will have to adhere to in order to win their vote in the upcoming vote on the agreement.

 

One minister stressed to the prime minister that he will lose his support if an international committee to draft a proposal to demilitarize and rehabilitate the Gaza Strip is not part of the agreement.

 

"Netanyahu is in crisis, that he decided to meet with us privately just reflects on the problems; it doesn't solve them," said another minister after his conversation with Netanyahu.

 

The ministers said that they were not fully involved in the details of the negotiations in Cairo. "We don't really know. Netanyahu is trying to set a trap for us with this Egyptian agreement so we cannot reject him, but he has a problem."

 

Among her other concerns, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said she would not agree to the construction of a seaport.

 

Listening to the ministers present their assorted political plans and new demands, there is an understanding that beyond the diplomatic and defense issues, the agreement hinges on political issues – which will continue to rock the coalition after the calm returns to the south.

 

Elior Levy and Roi Kais contributed to this report.

 

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