Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday backed ongoing talks aimed at making his rightwing opposition Likud party part of a government of national unity under Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
But Netanyahu, who led the party until his resignation after a general election defeat to Barak last year, emphasized that the coalition be for a limited period only.
"In case the security situation deteriorates, which is apparently the case now, the Likud must be part of a cabinet of national emergency, on condition that it be for a limited time and that a date be fixed for elections," Netanyahu told public radio.
"As soon as the danger posed by the Arab violence has passed, the people have to be allowed to choose between the path of continual concessions and or our way, based on deterrence," said the former prime minister, poised to make a comeback in in elections likely next year.
Netanyahu is currently riding high in the opinion polls, which put him ahead of Barak and his party leader Ariel Sharon in the popularity stakes.
"Above all we must not find ourselves in a situation where Barak tries to conclude an accord with (Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat on the back of Likud," he added.
Netanyahu was speaking Monday ahead of fresh talks between Barak and Likud leader Sharon on forming a government of national unity which would keep Barak's minority government afloat but which observers say would sound the death knell for Middle East peace – JERUSALEM (AFP)
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