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Political crisis in Israel has little influence on peace process: Palestinian official

Arab World Materials 18 January 2011 09:51
Palestinians said Monday that the political crisis in Israel as a result of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to quit his Labor party and resignation of three Labor party's ministers from the government would not influence the stalled Middle East peace process, Xinhua reported.
Political crisis in Israel has little influence on peace process: Palestinian official

Palestinians said Monday that the political crisis in Israel as a result of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's decision to quit his Labor party and resignation of three Labor party's ministers from the government would not influence the stalled Middle East peace process, Xinhua reported.

Palestinian observers expected that such dramatic development " won't have serious influence" on the coalition of the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Palestinian officials have also refrained from interfering into the Israeli affairs.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told the state-run news agency Wafa that the crisis in the Israeli Labor party "is merely Israel's internal affair," adding that when the Israeli government had to chose between peace and settlement, it chose settlement.

"The current Netanyahu government is seeking to undermine the peace process and annul the results of the previous peace negotiations," Erekat said, who called on the United States and the international community "to hold Israel responsible for stalling the process of peace talks."

Earlier on Monday, Barak announced that he had decided to quit his Labor Party, and form a new party called "Independence."

Right after Barak's announcement, three Labor party ministers announced that they had also decided to quit the coalition government headed by Netanyahu.

Before Barak made his decision, he had severe disputes with the leaders of the Labor Party who insisted that the party should quit the coalition headed by Netanyahu. The Labor Party has 13 lawmakers in the 120-member Knesset.

Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian negotiator, said that he doesn't expect dramatic changes after Barak quit his party and split it, adding "Barak destroyed his party and the left-wing in Israel after he shared with Netanyahu all the crimes. He quit in fear that he would be expelled out of his party."

Following Netanyahu's announcement that his collation won't be affected, Shaath called on the Palestinians "to escalate the popular struggle to gain the national Palestinian unity, and intensify the moves with the international parties to support the legitimate rights of the Palestinians."

Following the resignation of the three Labor Party's ministers, leader of the opposition in Israel Tzipi Livni called for holding early elections. She considered the current government "a narrow government and has no legality."

Hani Habib, a Gaza-based political observer, told Xinhua that all indications show that the current political crisis in Israel " won't represent any danger to the coalition government headed by Netanyahu, which still has a majority in the coalition and gains the support of the parliament."

"The split in the Labor Party has been expected a long time ago, especially when Barak obliged his Labor Party to joining the coalition that Netanyahu formed. Barak justified joining Netanyahu 's government as to block any upcoming right-wing decisions," Habib said.

He said that Barak decided to quit his party to avoid the pressure to force him to quit the government, meanwhile, "his withdrawal would give power to Netanyahu, mainly in keeping the peace process stalled and keeping settlement construction going on. "

The direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks were suspended in October last year, one month after it was launched in Washington. The talks were suspended after Netanyahu's government refused to extend a ten-month moratorium over freezing settlement construction in the Palestinian territories.

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