|Photo by: Gideon Marcovich|
As Fatah, Hamas meet, PM vows not to cede land
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Netanyahu meets with Dani Dayan after settler leader endorses him; asserts Hamas would seize any territory Israel evacuates.
Hamas and Iran would rule over any territory Israel cedes, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday, as he promised never to allow that to
He spoke during a Tel Aviv meeting with settler leader Dani Dayan.
The two men shook hands and posed for a photograph, as they stood near a flag of
Israel and a map of the region.
“Today Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas] is in Cairo, at the same time as the head of Hamas
Khaled Maashal. They are investigating a possible union between Fatah and the
terrorist that wants to destroy Israel and fired rockets on our cities,” he
“We know that any territory we evacuate will be taken over by Hamas
and Iran. We won’t let that happen,” he said.
He asked Dayan to meet with
him less than 24 hours after the settler leader quit his job as the head of the
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, so he could
endorse Netanyahu’s campaign.
“Internal unity is what will help us defend
Israel,” Netanyahu told Dayan.
The settler leader told Netanyahu that
from his home in the Ma’aleh Shomron settlement, he could look out at the prime
minister and defense minister’s Tel Aviv offices.
“I believe the Tel Aviv
residents are more secure because I live in Ma’aleh Shomron,” Dayan
“I’m certain that we are more secure in Ma’aleh Shomron because you
are at the helm,” he added.
Netanyahu smiled at Dayan and responded, “You
won’t believe me, but from the roof I can see you.”
“We are a small
nation that needs to defend its future. We will do it together,” Netanyahu said
as he reached out to shake Dayan’s hand.
The meeting follows a visit
Netanyahu made Tuesday to the West Bank settlements of Ariel and Rechilim. He is
currying favor with the settlers amid reports that they support the Bayit Yehudi
party over Likud Beytenu, which Netanyahu leads.
Although the prime
minister’s list still garners more votes than any other party, it continues to
drop in the polls in favor of Bayit Yehudi.
Dayan, in the resignation
letter he sent to council members last night, wrote that he was concerned
settlers were abandoning the Likud.
Settlers have publicized short videos
comparing Netanyahu to former prime minister Ariel Sharon and threatening to
“kick him out.” People are also talking about teaching the Likud a lesson by
placing it in the opposition, he added.
Polls show 34 mandates for Likud
Beytenu, with the Likud garnering only 21 mandates, he said, adding that it is
important to vote for this list to ensure Netanyahu remains prime
“Anyone who thinks that a weak prime minister is good for the
settlement enterprise doesn’t know what he is talking about,” Dayan
He explained that as council head he had refrained from getting
involved in politics, because the council should be apolitical.
said he resigned so he could endorse Netanyahu and urge people to vote for
“Anyone exposed to the facts and anyone who distinguishes between
the wheat and the chaff knows that the outgoing government led by Netanyahu was
very good for the settlement enterprise,” he said.
Committee head Benny Katzover disagreed with Dayan’s praise of Netanyahu, noting
that the prime minister supports a two-state solution and had frozen new housing
starts in Judea and Samaria for 10 months during the start of his
But, he said, there was no question Netanyahu was the leader
of the country’s Right and would be reelected as prime minister.