Netanyahu accuses PM of equivocating over PA unity gov't

"It's not enough to come to work, you actually have to do the work."

March 19, 2007 01:07
2 minute read.

From the Jordan Valley to Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu spent Sunday on the offensive against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In a jab at Olmert's statement to the Kadima Council last Thursday that his "place of work" was at the country's helm, Netanyahu said, "It's not enough to come to work, you actually have to do the work." He said the Likud was the preferred alternative to Kadima, which faced a new failure every day. "One failure follows another," he said. Netanyahu said the Likud was a more united and cleaner party then Kadima. He urged activists at Likud headquarters to work to enlarge the party. Netanyahu blamed Olmert for not taking a strong enough stand against the Palestinian Authority unity government. He said that would give the international community the impression it could support it. "Now that the horse has left the barn" Netanyahu said, the government has embarked on a public relations campaign to shore up the international ban against the new unity government. He also criticized the Arab League's renewed efforts to peddle its 2002 plan, which calls for the right of return for Palestinians, as a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The government has rejected the plan. Netanyahu said the right of return undermined the existence of the state. "Negotiations on the right of return is the same as negotiating on our right to exist," he said, adding that this was not open to debate. Netanyahu pledged Sunday to work to strengthen settlement in the Jordan Valley. "They want to give away the Valley," Netanyahu said, referring to Olmert and the government, during a tour of the area with the Likud faction. "We want to safeguard it, to strengthen it and to settle it." Likud MK Yisrael Katz said the Jordan Valley was critical for the nation's security. Olmert said last week he would treat "seriously" the Saudi initiative that calls for a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 border as a framework for talks to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But he and members of his government have said they do not support full withdrawal to the pre-1967 line. Olmert has also made statements in support of keeping the Jordan Valley. But his words have not convinced local residents that their future is safe. On Sunday, community leaders met with the Likud MKs to urge them to work on behalf of settlement in their area. They said they felt the government had stopped supporting their communities. "There is a feeling that the government has abandoned the valley," Ma'aleh Ephraim Regional Council head Danny Biton said. The Likud faction was invited by Jordan Valley Regional Council head Dubi Tal. Tal asked the MKs to push development, agriculture and security needs. He also asked them to help change the government's position on the development of Maskiot, home to a small pre-military religious academy. The government has shelved plans to build houses in Maskiot, including for former Gaza evacuees. The Likud MKs toured the school, met with the Gaza families and promised to work on their behalf.

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