Labor Leader Shimon Peres decides to cross the floor from Labor to Sharon’s Kadima
November 28, 2005
Last week, the former vice premier Shimon Peres told the new Labor leader Amir Peres he did not plan to leave the party. Sunday, Nov. 27, while declaring himself still undecided, he has in fact finalized terms with prime minister Ariel Sharon. Peres will not formally join Kadima, but attach himself to Sharon’s new venture.
This will happen in either of two ways:
1. A senior cabinet appointment. If the prime minister wins the March 28 election and forms the next government, he will name Peres as a kind of peace envoy to lead future negotiations with the Palestinians on the future of the West Bank. This fits in with Sharon’s declared intention to continue the pullbacks and evacuations he began in the Gaza Strip.
2. Twenty-eight years ago, the late Menahem Begin pulled Moshe Dayan over from the Labor party as his foreign minister for peace negotiations with Egypt. Sharon and Peres are duplicating that exercise. Sharon is signaling his intention of signing peace and drawing Israel’s final borders. Peres is offering himself up as the only pragmatic statesman capable of bringing this goal to fruition. He lacks electoral support but seeks this missing element from the founder of Kadima.
Sharon is banking on this partnership and plan to leave Peretz’s social-economic-focused campaign in the dust. He and Peres believe Peretz was caught short by his victory and unready both with the machine for a national campaign and a broad platform that covers vital defense and foreign policy issues. They also believe that, by following in Begin’s footsteps, they will rebut Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that he represents “the real Likud” while Sharon is a defector.