Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will apparently be able to muster a majority of his diplomatic-security cabinet to approve an additional 90-day freeze on West Bank settlement construction in exchange for an incentive package from the United States.
But Netanyahu’s majority will be a razor-thin one, made possible only by Shas ministers’ agreement to either abstain or absent themselves from the vote.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai said yesterday that his party would take this step “if it is made clear in a letter from the president of the United States that construction will take place in Jerusalem immediately, and that after 90 days, it will be possible to build everywhere, without restrictions.”
The story goes on to note that the security cabinet’s vote is likely to be 7-6, with the six members from the PM’s party, Likud, divided 3-3.
This vote is as good a window as any of the difficulty Netanyahu faces on these matters, independently of whatever his own preference may be.