JERUSALEM - Benjamin Netanyahu's bid to moderate the image of his incoming Israeli government faced a crucial test today as the centrist Labor Party was deciding whether to join.

Negotiators from Labor and Netanyahu's hawkish Likud Party have worked for the past two days on a coalition agreement that was to be presented to Labor's central committee later Tuesday. In a gesture to Labor, the deal would commit to pursuing a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Half of Labor's lawmakers object to teaming up with Netanyahu because of his long-standing opposition to peace efforts. Tuesday's vote was expected to be close.

Netanyahu has been a vocal critic of the outgoing government's peace talks with the Palestinians, saying conditions are not ripe for a deal.

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