The Israeli Arab Knesset factions are skeptical about the benefits they will reap from the talks they are holding with justice minister Yossi Beilin, who is acting as the envoy of prime minister Ehud Barak, reported Haaretz newspaper.
Beilin met over the weekend separately with representatives of three parties - Hadash, the United Arab List and the Arab Movement for Renewal - and will meet Sunday with the National Democratic Alliance, said the paper.
He told his interlocutors that the government needs the support of the Arab factions in the case of a "narrow" government but also if a broad-based government continues to exist - in which case they can show their backing by not voting for early elections or for other initiatives of the right-wing parties.
In return, Beilin said the Arab factions would get a written commitment from Barak, as they had from the Yitzhak Rabin government, in which the government would undertake to implement a four-year plan for the Arab population, to be reflected in the 2001 budget, the paper added.
Member of Knesset Talab Sane’ told Haaretz that they understood that "Barak, as part of the rescue effort for his government, wants to turn the Arab factions into 'Shabbes goys'" - referring to non-Jews who do work proscribed for Jews on the Sabbath.
He was quoted as saying that the Arab parties would agree "to fulfill that role if the peace process is advanced and our concrete demands are met, with specified dates for implementation.
"We have had our fill of promises and our files are filled with written commitments," he was quoted as saying.
Issam Makhoul from Hadash party, said his party told Beilin that it would not be an alternative "if Barak dissolves the partnership with Meretz, according to the paper - Albawaba.com
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