Parties in Israel’s current coalition government (and their views on the two-state solution and settlements)

Knesset

Coalition members (68):
Likud (20)
Yesh Atid (19)
The Jewish Home (12)
Yisrael Beiteinu (11)
Hatnuah (6)

Likud (20/68)): Netanyahu’s right-wing party. According to Wikipedia:

Charter
The 1999 Likud Party platform emphasizes the right of settlement.
The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.”[27]
Similarly, they claim the Jordan River as the permanent eastern border to Israel and it also claims Jerusalem as belonging to Israel.
The ‘Peace & Security’ chapter of the 1999 Likud Party platform rejects a Palestinian state.
“The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river. The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state. Thus, for example, in matters of foreign affairs, security, immigration and ecology, their activity shall be limited in accordance with imperatives of Israel’s existence, security and national needs.”[27]
With Likud back in power, starting in 2009, Israeli foreign policy is still under review. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, in his “National Security” platform, neither endorsed nor ruled out the idea of a Palestinian state.[28] “Netanyahu has hinted that he does not oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, but aides say he must move cautiously because his religious-nationalist coalition partners refuse to give away land.”[29]
On 14 June 2009, Netanyahu delivered a seminal address[30] at Bar-Ilan University (also known as “Bar-Ilan Speech”), at Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, that was broadcast live in Israel and across parts of the Arab world, on the topic of the Middle East peace process. He endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, with several conditions.
The Likud Constitution[31] of May 2014 is more vague and ambiguous. Though it contains commitments to the strengthening of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, it does not explicitly rule out the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Yesh Atid (19/68) a centrist party, again from Wikipedia (note point 8):

Platform
In the application submitted to the party registrar, Lapid listed the party’s eight goals. According to this statement, these include:[18][19]

  1. Changing the priorities in Israel, with an emphasis on civil life – education, housing, health, transport and policing, as well as improving the condition of the middle class.
  2. Changing the system of government.
  3. Equality in education and the draft—all Israeli school students must be taught essential classes, all Israelis will be drafted into the Army, and all Israeli citizens will be encouraged to seek work, including the ultra-Orthodox sector and the Arab sector.
  4. Fighting political corruption, including corruption in government in the form of institutions like “Minister without portfolio”, opting for a government of 18 ministers at most, fortifying the rule of law and protecting the status of the High Court of Justice.
  5. Growth and economic efficiency—creating growth engines as a way of fighting poverty, combating red tape, removing barriers, improving the transportation system, reducing the cost of living and housing costs, and improving social mobility through assistance to small businesses.
  6. Legislation of Education Law in cooperation with teachers’ unions, eliminating most of the matriculation exams, raising the differential education index and increasing school autonomy.
  7. Enact a constitution to regulate tense relations between population groups in Israel.
  8. Striving for peace according to an outline of “two states for two peoples”, while maintaining the large Israeli settlement blocs and ensuring the safety of Israel.

The Jewish Home (12/68) a religious pro-settler party, Wikipedia says:

Ideology
As the descendant of the National Religious Party, the Jewish Home is willing to cooperate with secular Israelis in governing the state, but it has not forgone its objective of creating a polity governed by Jewish law. The party’s members adhere to the belief that Jews are divinely commanded to retain control over the Land of Israel. Many members have taken the lead in establishing Israeli settlements,[5] making it nearly impossible for the party to join a coalition led by the center-left political bloc.[17]
The party primarily represents Modern Orthodox Jews,[5] who tend to be more nationalist in Israel. For many years, this community has been politically fractured and weak.[18] During 2013 elections, the party’s leader appealed to both religious and secular Israelis.[2] The party’s pro-settlement message and the appeal of party leader Naftali Bennett, a charismatic, high-tech millionaire, helped it increase popularity among a broader segment of the population.[5] The attention that Bennett received also apparently had an effect on Likud’s 2013 election strategy, pushing it to the right.[18] Along with Yesh Atid, the Jewish Home surged in popularity by promising to end the controversial system of draft exemptions given to ultra-Orthodox seminary students, and to “ease the burden” on middle class Israelis who serve in the military, work and pay taxes. These two parties became two largest coalition parties in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, and leaders of both parties were able to force Netanyahu to promise that the ultra-Orthodox political parties will not be in the new coalition.[19] Despite Bennett’s alliance with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid on many domestic issues, the two differ sharply over peace efforts and settlement building. Bennett is opposed to concessions to the Palestinians and has called for Israel to annex Area C of West Bank.[5][18]

Yisrael Beiteinu (11/68) a right-wing party in favour of getting rid of as many Israeli Arabs by transferring areas of high Arab concentration in Israel to the future Palestinian state. Wikipedia:

Relations with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians
One of the party’s main policies is that of drawing the borders in such a way that areas with large Arab populations, such as the Triangle area and the Wadi Ara, both gained by Israel as part of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, would be transferred to Arab sovereignty. Known as the Lieberman Plan, such an arrangement would mean that the majority of Jews would live in Israel and the majority of Arabs would live in a future Palestinian state. In most cases there is no physical population transfer or demolition of houses, but creating a new border where none existed before, according to demographics.[28]
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/153, written in 2001, explicitly states: “When part of the territory of a state is transferred by that state to another state, the successor state shall attribute its nationality to the persons concerned who have their habitual residence in the transferred territory and the predecessor state shall withdraw its nationality from such persons,” and Lieberman claims that this means Israel can legally transfer territory and citizens as a means of peace and ultimate conflict resolution.[28]
Avigdor Lieberman argues that the Arab residents see themselves not as Israelis but as Palestinians, and should therefore be encouraged to join the Palestinian Authority. Lieberman has presented this proposal as part of a potential peace deal aimed at establishing two separate national entities, one for Jews in Israel and the other for Arabs in Palestine. However, he is known to have an affinity for and is popular amongst the Druze population (the only Arab population to be fully drafted into the IDF), and has attracted a number of Druze voters, including some in the Golan Heights who voted for the party in protest.[29] Druze candidate Hamad Amar was elected to the Knesset on the party’s list in 2009.[30]
Regarding Palestinian statehood, Liberman has said that he supports the creation of “a viable Palestinian state”.[31]
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch proposed to use “administrative detention against those carrying out so-called ‘price tag’ attacks.” This was in reference to Jewish extremists perpetrating hate crimes against Arabs.[32]

Finally Hatnuah (6/68) a center-left party. Wikipedia:

Platform
Livni has stated that there should be a three-step process in order to resume negotiations with the Palestinians; the first step would be to ensure coordination with America; the second step would be utilizing the EU to back the negotiations; the third step would be to direct negotiations with the Palestinians; she also stated that there would be no negotiations with Hamas unless they “renounced terror”.[30] It is also committed to passing a Basic Law that deals with the protection of the environment,[31] and another to protect social rights. It is in favor of a differential value added tax as well as cancelling existing subsidies for West Bank settlements and ultra-Orthodox sectoral interests while increasing the fees charged for the mining of natural resources. Livni has long been an advocate for women’s rights and gay rights,[32] and her party supports same-sex marriage.[33]

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One thought on “Parties in Israel’s current coalition government (and their views on the two-state solution and settlements)

  1. In reply to the question of their positions with regards to Jerusalem, and how this compares to the views of the Palestinians and the UN views and international law.

    While Israel maintains that Jerusalem is and will remain their undivided capital, in practice most of these parties would accept to give up the Arab parts of East Jerusalem to a future Palestinian state, though it might be on the wrong side of the separation wall (not connected to the West Bank). And they would all want to annex the settlements that are part of Greater Jerusalem (that is within commuting distance, not just the immediately adjacent ones).

    I am not sure about Jewish home and the Likud hardcore, as they in theory oppose giving up any land that is part of the “Land of Israel” (Eretz Yisrael). They may possibly justify giving up the land if they believe it will save Jewish lives, etc.

    The Palestinians more or less accept this, giving up on the settlements around Jerusalem, though I assume they want access between East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.

    I believe international law holds that East Jerusalem is occupied territory as is the West Bank and all settlements should be evacuated, but realistically given the US (and Western) support for Israel, combined with the power balance between the Israelis and the Palestinians this outcome is not likely in the short term.

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