JERUSALEM (Jun. 8)
Tehiya, Israel’s largest opposition party, warned Likud Sunday that it has one month to establish new settlements in the West Bank. Otherwise, Tehiya said it would support Labor Party efforts to dissolve the Knesset and call new elections.
Tehiya’s ultimatum followed a meeting of the party’s leadership, which is divided over the issue of early elections. Rafael Eitan wants the Labor Likud unity government brought down immediately. His Knesset colleague, Geula Cohen, supports Premier Yitzhak Shamir’s effort to preserve the coalition for the remaining 18 months of its term.
Likud sources pointed out in response to Tehiya that four of the six new settlements provided for in the coalition agreement have been built. They acknowledged there was little chance the unity government would establish more than those six.
The Labor Party and its allies have made clear they want to end the unity government because of the impasse with Likud over the peace process. So far they have been unable to muster the votes needed to dissolve the Knesset. Tehiya’s five votes would give them the required majority.