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February 03, 2003

Cobbling a coalition together

It sure isn't easy

This article in JPost goes on to cover the different demands of the other potential partners. But totally aside from these machinations, is the "plan" which Sharon is putting together and which he says has the backing of Egypt and Jordan and the US.
Mitzna has persisted with his campaign promise to not join a Likud-led national-unity government. His closest advisers counseled him to at least offer Sharon conditions he can't accept, such as committing to withdraw all settlements from the Gaza Strip and shift allocations dramatically from the West Bank to the Negev.

"If Sharon says he would be willing to evacuate the settlers from Gaza, then it changes everything and there would be something to talk about," one top Mitzna strategist said.

But the Labor leader is unlikely to take such advice and is expected to refuse to form a team to negotiate with the Likud.

Sharon is expected to present to Mitzna his diplomatic plan, which involves forming a Palestinian state on the basis of US President George W. Bush's vision. He will tell Mitzna that Shimon Peres and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer helped devise the plan, with the involvement of Egyptian and Jordanian officials.

"Labor helped write our plan, and the Egyptians agree to it, so I don't understand how Mitzna can have a tougher stance than the Egyptians," a top adviser to Sharon said. "Sharon doesn't understand how Mitzna is willing to talk to everyone on the Arab side to make peace and not anyone on the Jewish side to make unity. No one will put a gun to Mitzna's head to make him join, but he should at least form a team to listen."