Party Leader Promises Barak Support in Forming Government of National Unity
A political leader who only recently abandoned the coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak promised him Tuesday that he would help him form a government of national unity if he comes back empty-handed from the Camp David peace summit.
Nathan Sharansky, who heads the Israel B'Aliya party, which represents immigrants from the former Soviet Union, told Israeli public radio that Barak has nothing to fear if the summit is a failure.
There has been widespread talk on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide that, if Barak and President President Yasser Arafat fail to reach a peace accord at Camp David, Palestinians will resort to renewed violence to push their demands for independence.
Arafat has said repeatedly that he intends to proclaim an independent Palestinian state by September 13th -- a deadline both sides set for reaching a final accord -- whether a deal is cut or not.
The Israeli army has warned that this could bring about an outbreak of violence on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip and, as recently as Monday, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh warned that a failure of the summit to bring about a peace deal could result in "violence and tragedy."
A government of national unity, incorporating the principal right-wing opposition party, Likud, is seen by some as a way to guarantee a solid, unified Israeli response to any such violence.
In his comments, Sharansky said Barak "need not fear" an eventual failure of the summit.
"If he returns to Israel without having reached an accord (with the Palestinians), we will help him to form a government of national unity."
Israel B'Aliya, which has four deputies in parliament, was one of three parties to pull out of Barak's coalition two days before the Camp David talks began in protest over Barak attending the summit - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)