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Barely making it

May 07,2015 - Last updated at May 07,2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just about succeeded in forming a coalition that holds parliamentary majority by just one seat.

Less than two hours before the midnight deadline Wednesday, Netanyahu forged a deal with the Bayit Yehudi Party, which holds eight precious places in the 120-seat Knesset.

That is not enough for comfort, even if enough to stay in power.

The barely there coalition does not appear to have it easy; even master manipulator Netanyahu could find difficulty in passing domestic legislation under the circumstances.

Knowing how fractious Israeli coalition governments are, the new administration might find it difficult to stay in power until November 2019, as expected.

Hopes to bolster the seats by bringing in centre-left opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s party are dashed — at least for the moment — by his declaration, on Thursday, to Israel’s army radio: “I have no intention of serving as a fifth wheel, uncorker or hole-plugger for Bibi Netanyahu. I intend to replace Netanyahu, and I intend to lead a fighting opposition.”

Herzog, leader of the main opposition grouping, Zionist Union Party, issued a statement calling the new, fragile, Israeli government the “weakest, narrowest and most prone to extortion coalition in the history of Israel”, perhaps qualifying the best the party in charge of leading Israel.

Sadly, this means that there will be paralysis in Israeli politics for some years, with the government incapable and most likely unwilling to engage the Palestinians in any serious peace talks.

When the only worry is how to cling to power, a highly controversial issue cannot be expected to be tackled by this flimsy government.

And with the US gearing up for the next presidential election, not much pressure can be expected from a lame duck president there either.

Not that President Barack Obama has done much for the Palestinians so far.

So now with Israel unlikely to make any commitment in regard to the Palestinian file and Washington in a similar position, this central regional conflict can be expected to remain on the back burner for quite a few more years.

Unless peaceful resistance, the BDS initiative mainly, and legal channels, by the UN, finally stir the world’s consciousness and push it to act to put an end to the unacceptable Israeli occupation of Palestine.

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