Almost everyone came out ahead in the Dec. 29 decision by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to adopt the proposed bill by Knesset member Miri Regev annexing the Jordan Valley. The biggest winner is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the right moment, just a few days before US Secretary of State John Kerry was to land in Israel with a hard-to-digest memorandum, the secretary of state got a taste of the bitter herbs that the Likud’s Knesset faction feeds the prime minister. At their meeting on Jan. 2, Bibi will be able to tell his guest, “John, my friend, you see what I have to put up with.” It was worth it for Netanyahu to allow the Likud ministers the freedom to vote in the committee, eroding his standing and authority, just to achieve this goal.
The second winner is the head of the Israeli team negotiating with the Palestinians, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Regev provided her with yet another opportunity to appeal a radical right-wing initiative and justify her membership in the government. Here, again, Livni (and the ministers of the centrist Yesh Atid Party) is saving us from the clutches of the radical right and proudly waving the flag of peace.