Likud party crushes Sharon's unity government proposal

The prospects for Israel's Likud-led government to become another national unity government with the Shimon Peres and the Labor party were narrowly squashed by the Likud central committee, one of the most obnoxious and counterproductive entities in the middle east. Haaretz on this whole mess:

Likud hands Sharon a crushing rebuff: Ariel Sharon suffered a crushing rebuff at last night's Likud convention when delegates voted for a proposal blocking the Labor Party's entry into a unity government, and rejected a proposal by the prime minister which would have effectively enabled him to hold talks with Labor.

Convention members were asked to vote on two resolutions - one from Sharon, authorizing him to carry out coalition negotiations with any Zionist party, and a competing one from Minister Uzi Landau rejecting a coalition with Labor. Sharon's own proposal was defeated by just 5 votes - but Landau's passed 843 to 612, a majority of 231.
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Nevertheless, it would be very difficult for Likud MKs to raise a hand in favor of a decision rejected so sweepingly by the convention, since it is the convention that controls their political fate - it chooses the party's Knesset list.

The defeat was all the more humiliating for Sharon because, unlike at previous Likud party gatherings, he and his people worked hard to win this vote, lobbying convention members energetically and making sure that the hall was packed with Sharon supporters so that booing from opponents could be offset by cries of "Arik, King of Israel!"
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There is a faction within the Likud, Sharon charged, that "has worked against the government since its inception" and has now "announced that it intends to vote in the Knesset against the policy of our government, a Likud government. This is not appropriate behavior for members of a ruling party. It is behavior that is liable to bring the Likud to the verge of a split. We have to decide - will the Likud continue to run the country in a united, responsible and statesmanlike fashion, or is the Likud led by an extremist, rebellious and irresponsible opposition?"

The Likud, he added, has suffered boycotts by other parties in the past, and precisely because of this, it should not itself boycott any Zionist party.

"I hear terrible cries of boycotts, hatred, bans, voices that threaten civil war... voices that call for violence against soldiers, policemen and even against me. We must make a different voice heard in the Likud... the voice of the late Menachem Begin, who prevented civil war before the founding of the state, who brought about a unity [government] on the eve of the Six Day War, who made peace with Egypt despite the difficulties. This is a voice that knows how to place the good of the state above any personal or party interest... If we do this, we will continue to be victorious."

[Minister] Livnat backed Sharon in her speech, declaring: "Any boycott of a Zionist party is unacceptable. It is unacceptable morally, and it will hurt us electorally... Every time the national camp has failed to line up behind its leader, we have lost."

But Minister without Portfolio Landau, one of the leading opponents of both disengagement and Labor's entry into the coalition, rejected both the allegation of boycott and the allegation that he and his fellows were a rebellious faction. It is Sharon, he charged, who has repeatedly "scorned" the Likud and its historic path - by terming Israel's presence in the territories an "occupation," by calling for a Palestinian state, and by ignoring the decision of Likud members, who rejected his disengagement plan in the May referendum.

Sharon's desire to bring in Labor is merely one more example of the prime minister's utter contempt for his own party, Landau said. As for Labor, "we aren't rejecting a party - we're rejecting a path," he said.

Labor's presence in the government, he said, would mean a return to the 1967 borders, the division of Jerusalem, an end to the army's determined war on terror, and the return of both Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres to the center of the political stage.

However, another article described how the anti-Sharon folks are actually really tired of dealing with the settlers:

One of the Likud leaders said, "It's hard for me to admit but the Likud must take the power away from the committee members, one way or another. You can't run a ruling party with more than 3,000 members, each thinking he can grab the prime minister by the balls. It's undignified, both for the party and the state."

For other minutia from Israel, a non-Jewish woman's name on a memorial plaque to a suicide bombing was written differently than the Ultra-Orthodox victims of the bombing. People hate living next to the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv because it's noisy, smelly and has ruined their apartments. A Labor MK writes about how horrible economic conditions have become there, in essence due to the cutbacks needed to support the settlements and the war in Netanyahu's sandbox world. A rightwinger argues against considering a deal on the Golan Heights with Syria:

"Narrative" is a post-modern term that stresses relativity and subjectivity. In the history of the nations there is no absolute truth - except, of course, the Palestinian truth. It is important to reiterate and state that the life story of the Israeli nation in the land of Israel, the exile from the land and the people's cleaving to the land that developed in the Diaspora in order to return to the land, are neither myth nor relative truth. They, according to every historical and sociological parameter, are absolute truth, not narrative.

There is no "clash between two narratives" here. Although a large group of Arabs who today call themselves Palestinians have formulated a national identity - and their success, due partly to Jewish failures, is quite convincing - and deny any Jewish connection to the land of Israel, no one, apart from Israel's enemies from within and without, relates seriously to this denial.

This was well put by the historian Prof. Ben-Zion Dinur, a Mapai (Land of Israel Workers Party) member and Israel's second education minister: The Arabs who arrived here in recent centuries have all the rights in the State of Israel, but no rights to the land of Israel.

That is the interesting thing about Israel: people aren't sure if it's a nation or a narrative, no one likes smelly bus stops, and the enormously powerful ruling party is completely set against itself. Perhaps the only advantage of their coalition-parliamentary system is that it has some flexibility in theory, that better parties might go in and shift it leftward without another election. However, you can't do this if the overpowered Central Committee is stubborn, corrupt and worthless. Yet again this indicates that the problem with Israel might be that the executive actually isn't powerful enough against its internal rivals.

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