Members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party have won a crucial court battle over the party’s internal rules that allow the leader of the central committee, in this case Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon, to require party approval of any concessions made to the Palestinians in negotiations.
In effect, this would give the party veto power over territorial compromises that the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority demand, but which the Likud opposes. Danon and others are eager to prevent a repeat of the Gaza disengagement, which went ahead in 2005 despite being defeated by a party referendum the year before.
Though Netanyahu will undoubtedly bristle at the loss of some control over his party, in fact the court decision strengthens his position in negotiations, because it makes clear to both the Obama administration and the Palestinian Authority that Netanyahu cannot actually meet their most aggressive demands and survive in office.
The U.S. Congress has attempted to strengthen the Obama administration’s hand in the same way with a new bipartisan Iran sanctions bill. President Barack Obama, however, threatened to veto the bill, forcing Democrats to stand down and effectively enabling deeper concessions to Iran in ongoing nuclear talks.