Israeli News: A Daily Analysis

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 16, 2009--Negotiations Fail With Hamas on Shalit. Lieberman Signs Coalition Agreement

Coalition talks between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu have concluded. Avigdor Lieberman’s party has received more power than any party with 15 seats ever has. He will have five ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Relations, as well as his choice for the Minister of Justice, and Ministry of Internal Security which includes police, control of the committee that appoints judges, as well as other key committees, and control over all aspects of Israel’s relations with the nations of the former Soviet Union. To say this is an embarrassment is not worth stating. All I know if I was Syrian President Assad waiting to negotiate with Netanyahu, I would be salivating, since this is a man who certainly knows how to give ground in negotiations. It seems any chance of a unity government has evaporated with negotiations ending between the Likud and Kadima. The stumbling block remains0the issue of Netanyahu not agreeing to the principal of two states for two nations.

It looks like Gilad Shalit will not be returning to Israel any time soon. The Israeli negotiators returned tonight from Israel and reported that Hamas has hardened its position and has walked away from positions that had already been agreed to. There will be a cabinet meeting tomorrow to hear the results. Some commentators tonight expressed the opinion that the public pressures the last few days encouraged Hamas to ask for more.