Transportation Minister Israel Katz upgraded his criticism of Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday,
hinting that he was indirectly to blame for the murder of IDF soldier Tomer
Hazan, who was lured to the West Bank and killed by a Palestinian co-worker a day earlier.
Netanyahu recently expressed frustration with Katz’s right-wing scoldings
at a cabinet meeting. Following Katz’s vote against releasing Palestinian
terrorists from Israeli prisons at the start of diplomatic talks, Netanyahu
removed part of Katz’s title and gave it to Energy and Water Minister Silvan
Shalom, who abstained from the vote.
“Every time terrorists are released,
it increases the appetite of the murderers,” Katz told thousands of Likud
activists at an event outside his succa in Moshav Kfar Ahim, near Ashdod. “We still have not heard condemnation of the murder from
[Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud] Abbas, who is probably busy preparing a
check for the family of the terrorist, as he tends to do.”
Minister Danny Danon, who attended the event, wrote to Netanyahu on Sunday night,
urging him to freeze the negotiations with the Palestinians until Abbas condemns
Katz complained that ministers were not being briefed on
the content of the negotiations.
He expressed concern that Israel’s chief
negotiator, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, would make concessions that Likudniks
“Livni’s path is not our path,” he told the
“Ideology cannot be changed like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. We
are in a struggle for the Land of Israel, for the essence of our existence
here. We must tell the US we have red lines we will not
Katz said the red lines must include that Jerusalem will never be
divided again, that no international forces be stationed, and that a Palestinian
state not be created. He suggested that the Palestinians instead be governed by
an autonomy connected to Jordan.
“We were promised a rose garden in Oslo
but received thousands of dead and wounded,” Katz said, suggesting that the US
should help Israel in the face of changes going on in the region “instead of
trying to extort territorial concessions.”
Katz reiterated his intention
to use his post as head of the Likud secretariat to investigate the party’s
failure to win more than 20 seats among the 31 obtained on a joint list with
Meanwhile, Katz's office countered Monday that the minister had not intended to
connect in any way between the prime minister and the soldier's death,
not even through a hint.
"The only people
responsible for Hazan's death are Hamas and the terrorists who murdered
him," Katz's office said.