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Friday, February 28, 2003

National Greatness Coalition?-Sharon got sworn in yesterday with a four party coalition. I just spent some time looking at the platforms of the three partners in the coalition, the National Union, National Religious Party and Shinui. What seems to be a common responce from the parties is hard-nosed stance towards the Palestinians. Shinui is the odd duck in the mix. It's been described as a secular party, but the platform sounds more neolibertarian, they're free-marketeers but want less intermingling of church and state; Glenn Renyoldstein, anyone? On the Palestinian issue, the site I ran into on the platforms had this discription of Shinui's stand
Shinui supports the peace process and believes that painful concessions on both sides must be made to arrive at peace. However, any peace agreement must ensure Israel's security, the normalization of relations with the Palestinians and with neighboring countries and peace with the Arab world.
This sound more like shalom in its full meaning rather than just the cessation of violence. Shinui isn't opposed to a Palestinian state, but the other partners are more hard-line. The National Union party wants to see the West Bank and Gaza annexed and peacefully ethnically cleansed, just the thing to warm Yasser's heart. The National Religious Party doesn't want any settlements handed back. That would add up to a rather hard line against the Palestinians, but one that could set up an enforced partition of the West Bank as a fait accomplis. He can lose one (but not both) of the conservative parties and still hang onto a majority The parties could agree on economics (both National Union and Shinui are free-marketeers and NRP would go along as long as the food's kosher) and possibly agree on some scaling back of seminary exemptions from IDF service. Shas, and its love of financial faith-based pork, isn't in the coalition, which might allow a more free-market goverment to thrive. Bibi's the new finance minister with a coalition that could make some free-market noise. It looks like just about as good of a center-right coalition as Sharon could get.

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