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Labor MK to Lapid: Don't Play Games on Our Back

MK Eitan Cabel tells Finance Minister that the Labor party has no business in the coalition at the present time.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/9/2013, 12:16 AM

MK Eitan Cabel
MK Eitan Cabel
Flash 90

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) responded on Sunday to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who said earlier that he would do “anything” to save the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, including supporting the removal of the Jewish Home from the coalition and replacing it with Labor.

“Mr. Finance Minister, if you want to play political games - not on the back of the Labor party," said Cabel, adding, "Whoever wants to negotiate, negotiates. Whoever wants peace, makes peace. We are still trying to recover from the promises made at the Bar-Ilan speech and therefore we have no business in a government such as it this one, which is not seeking for a political settlement with all its might.”

Cabel claimed that the Netanyahu government is not doing all it can to ensure the success of the negotiations.

“The slogan of two states for two peoples becomes hollow when it is repeated from morning to night while everything is done to ensure that it does not become a reality,” he declared, adding, “Labor will judge the government solely based on the actions on the ground.”

Lapid, who spoke on Sunday at a conference sponsored by the financial newspaper Globes, said, "It is vital for the economy and the state that this government continue to govern even if advances in negotiations make it necessary to carry out some changes in the coalition.”

The Jewish Home party responded coolly to Lapid’s thinly veiled threat.

"The person who assembles the coalition is the prime minister," said Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked, "and he will decide who will be in the coalition."

When she was asked by Channel 2's reporter about the negotiations with the PA, Shaked replied, "As we have already said in the past, as long as there is just talk, as long as there are no retreats or far reaching concessions, we have no objection to this."

Lapid and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett struck a political pact during the negotiations for formation of the present government, with each promising that he would not enter the government without the other. Lapid's new pronouncements may signal that this partnership is coming to an end.

A number of Jewish Home MKs have already called for an end to the pact over Yesh Atid's promotion of civil marriage, among other contentious issues.