'No other possibility.' Simhon
Photo: Dana Kopel
'Good will needed.' Eini
Photo: Dana Kopel

Labor reps after meeting with Likud: We have our red lines

Minister Simhon says 'major obstacles' expected in coalition talks, but adds 'agreement can be reached if Netanyahu shows some good will. Barak's office slams Labor MKs who sent Bibi letter saying they won't back agreement

"We are facing some major obstacles in the coalition talks, particularly regarding the protection of the rule of law," Minister Shalom Simhon, a member of Labor's negotiation team, said Monday afternoon following a meeting Likud representatives at Ramat Gan's Kfar Hamaccabiyah Hotel.


The teams are expected to meet later on in the day to resume discussions on Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's burgeoning coalition. Labor Chairman Ehud Barak, who is in favor of joining the next government, faces stiff opposition from a number of Labor Knesset members who are against participating in a Likud-led government.


Labor's central committee is scheduled to convene on Tuesday.


"Either we'll reach an agreement with Likud or not; there's no other possibility," Simhon said, "we have our red lines too."


The Labor minister criticized his fellow party members who wrote Netanyahu a letter saying the negotiating team appointed by Barak does not have a mandate to sign a coalition deal.


"The letter is a violation of standard procedure and constitutes a crossing of a red line," he said.


Ehud Barak spoke with a number of Labor party members opposed to joining Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government.


Barak said to them, "There is no legal interdiction against establishing a negotiation team, and I will be happy to update the faction members as to their progress. It is our duty to hold a legitimate political debate – what is right for the State of Israel, what do the citizens want, and what is good for the party – instead of writing fallacious letters."


Histadrut Labor Federation head Ofer Eini, who is also a member of Labor's negotiation team, said following the meeting "With some good will on Bibi's (Netanyahu) part, we'll be able to strike a deal, though numerous obstacles remain."


Barak's office said the claims presented in the letter relayed to Netanyahu were "fallacious" and that Labor's charter makes no mention of the need for authorization from the party's institutions to launch negotiations.


"Barak is acting for the good of the party, the country and its citizens," the chairman's office said. "Any decision will be reached by the party's central committee." 


פרסום ראשון: 03.23.09, 16:01
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