Bibi Hangs Tough

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Benjamin Netanyahu may be under fire at home, but don't expect him to be toppled. As West Bank settlers barricaded roads, right-wingers in Israel's parliament failed on Monday to pass a no-confidence vote over the Wye agreement. "The opposition has promised to back Netanyahu over the agreement," says TIME Jerusalem bureau chief Lisa Beyer. "That doesn't mean they won't push for early election so that they can unseat him and take forward the peace process themselves."

He may well have to face the electorate as early as next March, but the Israeli leader's reluctant signature at Wye could be a strategy to keep his job. "Netanyahu knew centrist voters would reject him if he didn't sign," says Beyer. "Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Israelis back this agreement. The right-wing opposition is very vocal, but it's a minority." That doesn't mean that Netanyahu has reversed his own ideological opposition to trading land for peace. Says Beyer, "Netanyahu can live with this deal because he knows he can get out of it by saying the Palestinians aren't doing enough to crack down on Hamas." Indeed, no one will be more surprised than Arafat if, 12 weeks from now, Israeli troops withdraw as scheduled.