(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not allow the Likud central committee to convene to debate his decision to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria, sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Saturday night.
Speaking in Ra'anana, at an event under the banner "Real Likudniks don't surrender," Likud MK Danny Danon told a crowd of some 200 party activists and settler leaders that on Sunday morning, he would deliver the required number of signatures of central committee members to force a meeting of the committee to its chairman, Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon.
"The prime minister should have told the Americans that on Judea and Samaria, he would not surrender," Danon said. "We are starting a campaign to put the brakes on what Netanyahu is trying to do. We will be attacked for this and it won't be easy, but we, the silent majority of the Likud, will struggle and succeed."
Netanyahu's associates said that despite the signatures he could still avoid convening the committee. They said that even if there will be a meeting of the committee in a couple of months, it would deal only with procedural matters.
A source close to Netanyahu admitted that he had called Likud ministers and MKs and persuaded them not to come to Danon's event, which was not attended by any other MK. Danon stressed at the event that his goal was not to topple Netanyahu but to strengthen him.
Speakers at the event outdid one another in insulting US President Barack Obama. Netanya Likud activist Ben-Zion Ben-David said, "We overcame Pharaoh, Antiochus, and Salah a-Din. We'll overcome Obama too."
Ariel mayor Ron Nahman threatened ministers and MKs who supported the settlement freeze that he and other activists in the room would prevent them from getting re-elected. He referred to the president as "Hussein Obama" and praised Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat for calling Obama's administration "horrible."
"Limor, I am proud of what you said," Nahman said. "You said what most citizens of Israel feel since Obama came to power. Obama wouldn't have dared do what Netanyahu is doing here, because in the US, they have a constitution - and not prostitution."
Livnat's associates said they were surprised by the tremendous positive reactions she received for calling the Obama administration horrible.
Beit Arye mayor Avi Naim called the Obama administration "anti-Semitic" and said that it was "the worst ever for the Jews." Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika compared Netanyahu's shift on the settlement issue to the scams of Bernard Madoff. He said "the settlements in Judea and Samaria are not ice cream and cannot be frozen."
Likud activist Moshe Feiglin rejected charges that Netanyahu betrayed Judea and Samaria. He said that no one there should have thought that Netanyahu would do anything different. "Bibi didn't betray anyone," Feiglin said. "The writing was on the wall and the ceiling and the floor. But anyone who wanted to get fooled was fooled."
Meanwhile, Labor chairman Ehud Barak will convene his party's executive committee on Sunday to take credit for the settlement freeze and call upon the rebel MKs in Labor to come back to the party.
"He will not be declaring victory," Barak's spokesman said. "He will just be updating the committee on the situation."