Kadima: We won’t save PM from Lieberman

“Netanyahu chose to build this coalition and he is stuck with all his partners,” a Kadima spokesman said.

October 1, 2010 01:41
3 minute read.
Kadima faction meeting

kadima faction room 248 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Kadima rejected calls for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to bring the party into the coalition in place of Israel Beiteinu following controversial statements Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

Lieberman angered Netanyahu when he told international leaders that he believed that Israel must arrive at an interim agreement with the Palestinians, that peace would be possible only after a number of decades, and that an eventual final agreement would require population and territorial exchanges.

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While Labor ministers said Netanyahu should replace Israel Beiteinu with Kadima, Israel Beiteinu officials said Netanyahu should bring in Kadima instead of Labor, because Labor chairman Ehud Barak had veered too far to the Left.

“Netanyahu chose to build this coalition and he is stuck with all his partners that are calling for replacing each other as an excuse for staying in the government,” a Kadima spokesman said. “Kadima will remain outside the coalition as the alternative to the terrible ‘Bibierman’ government that unfortunately is the face of the nation.”

Sources close to Netanyahu said no changes were coming in the coalition, despite the current lack of harmony.

Lieberman reacted angrily on Wednesday to Barak’s contention that the foreign minister’s comments to the General Assembly did not reflect the stance of the government. Lieberman said that Barak stated last week that Jerusalem should be divided in a potential peace agreement with the Palestinians, yet he heard no one protest the fact that the defense minister’s views did not echo those of the government.

Barak had said that Lieberman’s speech damaged Israel’s interests and played into the hands of Israel’s enemies.

Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman (Labor) called on Netanyahu to fire the foreign minister.

“Lieberman’s delusional speech was intended to heat up the atmosphere and harm the peace process,” Braverman said. “This adds to a long list of incidents in which Lieberman tried to undermine the prime minister.”

The foreign minister responded on Israel Radio that Braverman should thank him, because were it not for Braverman’s attacks on him, no one would be aware that Braverman existed or was a cabinet minister.

Kadima lawmakers accused Netanyahu of failing to maintain a united coalition on issues of foreign policy.

“Prime Minister A Netanyahu talks about a final agreement and two states, Prime Minister B Lieberman speaks about an interim agreement and population exchanges, while Prime Minister C [Interior Minister Eli] Yishai does not believe in an agreement,” mocked MK Yoel Hasson.

In an official statement, Kadima called the use of the UN General Assembly as a forum for a “campaign event” “unprecedentedly irresponsible” and said that “Israel does not have a government or a leader but a gathering of people who have no connection between them except their desire to remain in power at the expense of the people of Israel and its place in the world.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit told the Al-Arabiya network on Wednesday that Lieberman did not represent Israel’s foreign policy.

Aboul Gheit said he did not listen to Lieberman’s UN General Assembly speech on Wednesday since Lieberman’s stance did not interest him. It was only Netanyahu who mattered, he suggested.

Aboul Gheit added that he was skeptical that the peace talks could succeed despite international efforts and that Palestinians would not be capable of remaining in negotiations as a result of Israel not extending the West Bank settlement construction moratorium.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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