Things fall apart. After 19 months of an awkward marriage with Likud, Israel’s Labor party walks out. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s financial support for settlements is the official reason for the breakup. But many say this high profile divorce is just political posturing in advance of the upcoming Labor Party election.
Regardless, Sharon, now forsaken by his fellow ex-general, Fuad Ben Eliezer, now needs to decide how to hold onto power, either by reaching out to the right wing, or by holding national elections that could see him losing to Binyamin Netanyahu. Ironically, this latest crisis might breathe new life into the opposition, allowing voices, silenced by 19 months of coalition government, to be heard.
Labor and Likud, why breaking up is hard to do.
Ambassador Philip Wilcox, president of the Foundation for Middle East peace in Washington
Cameron Barr, Middle East correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor
Benny Elon, member of the Knesset
Ze’ev Schiff, military analyst for the daily Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz
Tzali Reshef, member of the Knesset. Labour Party.