Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he's ready for immediate talks with the Palestinians, but he won't endorse a Palestinian state.
After meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, he emphasized his commitment to Palestinian statehood – a top concern among Arabs.
Ehud Barak says he could act as a counterweight to far-right and religious coalition members.
In a country divided between the centrist Kadima and hawkish Likud parties, a new kingmaker emerges from the far right.
Polls show Benjamin Netanyahu likely to be next prime minister as Israelis vote on Feb. 10.
Hamas and Israel have not agreed to terms of a mutual cease-fire agreement, worrying many that the war will soon start up again.
Two key issues are Israel's demand to stop arms smuggling and the Palestinian desire for an end to the economic blockade of Gaza.
Sari Bashi of the group Gisha argued before the Israeli Supreme Court Thursday that Israel is still responsible for Gazan civilians because it controls the enclave's borders, airspace, and sea space.