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Friday, April 07, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again - Part 2: Lieberman to join government to fight 'convergence' plan

Once again, an Israeli politician will lead his party into a coalition with the goal of gaining money, jobs and political power fighting a major plank of that government's platform. Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu plans to lead his party into the government to fight Ehud Olmert's convergence expulsion 'plan'.

But Israel Beiteinu officials reshuffled the cards on Thursday when they revealed that one of their reasons for the party joining the government was to try to prevent the unilateral withdrawal from happening.

"The way to have an impact is to join the coalition," said MK Yuri Shtern, the party's No. 2. "We are against unilateral withdrawals and we will try to work against them. In the coalition talks, Olmert will say what he believes in, we will say what we believe in and then we will see what is possible."

Labor chairman Amir Peretz demanded on Thursday that the word convergence be added to the coalition guidelines to keep Lieberman out of the government. Labor officials said they hoped they could convince Olmert to include Meretz in the coalition instead.

"We will lobby hard to prevent Israel Beiteinu from joining the coalition," Labor secretary-general Eitan Cabel said. "Kadima should agree to keep Lieberman out because we gave up our effort to form our own coalition."


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