Israel’s Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of right wing Likud, has agreed in principle with Labour’s Ehud Barak to form a pact which would help create a coalition government.
The deal is only a draft of an agreement and it still has to be ratified by Labour party chiefs later today in a vote which will be close. Many in Labour resent being a junior partner to Likud. Ehud Barak the outgoing defence minister is expected to retain his post. Netanyahu has already found allies like ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman, but he wants to avoid establishing a narrow right-wing government that might put him on a collision course with U.S. President Barack Obama, who has vowed to shepherd the Palestinian track forward. If the deal goes through and Netanyahu wins Labour’s support, he would have 66 seats in the 120-member parliament. Normally reliable sources in Israel report the Labour-Likud pact included a clause committing Netanyahu “to all diplomatic and international agreements to date” with the Palestinians, who won limited self-rule under a 1993 accord.