Israeli Religious Party Threaten to Quit Barak's Coalition
The National Religious Party (NRP) threatened Tuesday to quit Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's fragile coalition ahead of planned summit in the United States aimed at brokering a peace deal with the Palestinians.
"The chances of our staying in the coalition if there is a summit are slim. The NRP will not be able to stay if there is a summit," Yitzhak Levy, head of the right-wing NRP told Israeli public radio.
"If the guidelines for the summit are not coordinated with us, we will quit," he said.
Barak is scheduled to brief his coalition partners early Tuesday on the Israeli negotiating position ahead of the summit, involving the US, Israel and the Palestinians. The NRP and other right wing members in Barak's coalition want the prime minister to tell them how far he is willing to go on concessions towards the Palestinians.
A diplomatic source told AFP that US Middle East envoy, Dennis Ross, will brief the ministers in Barak's coalition during the meeting.
"If we are not satisfied by the answers we get from the prime minister, I will recommend that we leave the coalition," Levy said.
Asked whether Levy is coordinating his move with Nathan Sharansky, the head of the Russian immigrant party Israel B'Alia, the NRP leader said "it is possible that we will quit together."
Sharansky hinted Monday that his party will leave Barak's government if the prime minister crosses certain lines in his concessions to Palestinians.
The NRP already threatened to walk out of Barak's coalition last month after Israel's parliament approved the transfer to full Palestinian rule the Arab village of Abu Dis, which borders on Jerusalem.
But the transfer of Abu Dis and two other Palestinian villages, Azzariye and Suwahara, due to be transferred to Palestinian rule in May, was put on hold following bloody clashes between the Palestinian and Israeli security forces in mid-May.
But according to officials in Barak's office, the prime minister is willing to transfer Abu Dis before the summit.
"We are out of the coalition the moment Abu Dis is transferred," Levy said Tuesday - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
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