The debate whether Lieberman went on his overseas trip (to Eastern Europe?) in the middle of coalition negotiations was to oversee one of his alleged private business ventures (which rumor says is part of what he is under investigation for) or just to strong-arm Netanyahu and show him who’s boss, may very well now be irrelevant.
Likud and Kadima are holding serious talks, and you can bet the one common denominating factor that joins them is the desire to not be held captive to the games and extortionist tactics of Avigdor Lieberman.
It would appear that Lieberman overplayed his hand in the presumption that he and he alone held the keys to the government in his pocket.
Taking his vacation while rockets fall on Israel may have been too much for everyone to stomach.
It is has become clear that both Likud and Kadima have realized that any government Lieberman enters on Lieberman’s terms will be inherently unstable and under a permanently loaded gun to the head.
And even if a unity government doesn’t form from these negotiations, Lieberman has been significantly weakened, as it’s now recognized that a coalition can be formed without him if needed.
The most likely constellation in this case would be Likud (27), with Bibi as Prime Minister, Kadima (28) with Livni as Deputy Prime Minister and many senior positions, Aguda (5) (giving them 60), and Bayit Yehudi (3) for good luck.
Shas (11) may be invited in immediately afterwards but it will be for further stability and not because they are needed.
Ichud Leumi (4) may be out, as per the demands of Kadima, but Lieberman will be out in the cold for sure.
In the long term would such a government be viable or accomplish anything? Perhaps, perhaps not. And even if it did, what would it accomplish? Whose agenda would it follow?
One thing is clear. Lieberman, with his loaded gun, shot himself in the foot, as well as the rest of the right-wing/religious electorate that actually won this election.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד