Seven ministers led by Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett wrote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, urging him to convene the cabinet to reconsider upcoming Palestinian prisoner releases as an integral part of ongoing diplomatic talks.
The letter says the issue of prisoner releases must be brought back to the cabinet, due to the murders of two IDF soldiers in two days. It was signed by three ministers each from Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu as well as Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz from the Likud. The only minister among the seven who voted in favor of the prisoner releases in June was Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver (Yisrael Beytenu).
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman praised Netanyahu’s decision to respond to the murder of a soldier in Hebron by permitting Jewish tenants to move into a controversial building owned by Jews in the city.
“It was the most fitting and the most legitimate step to take,” Liberman told Army Radio. “It must be made clear that Hebron is not up for negotiations.”
But other coalition MKs on the Right and the Left condemned the decision.
“Settling the land of Israel should not be done as a punishment for murdering Jews and does not atone for abandoning them,” Likud MK Moshe Feiglin said.
Hatnua faction chairman Meir Sheetrit said the decision was harmful to Israel, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no legal problem with Jews living in the building.
“I don’t like this decision, which does not calm the situation or advance peace,” Sheetrit said. “This provocation is liable to cause additional violence.”
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich called Netanyahu’s decision irrational and said it was only intended to pacify extreme right-wingers in his coalition.
She cautioned the prime minister not to stop the peace process.
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev slammed right-wing politicians for “taking advantage of such tragic incidents to advance themselves politically.”