Bennett threatens to bolt if Kerry proposals are accepted

Bayit Yehudi leader say faction will leave coalition if government adopts US diplomatic proposals that cede Jordan Valley to Palestinians; source says "he will not present red lines publicly but those who need to know know."

January 1, 2014 22:25
1 minute read.
Naftali Bennett.

Naftali Bennett 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Bayit Yehudi will not remain in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government if it officially adopts peace proposals presented by US Secretary of State John Kerry, even if reservations are presented, party leader Naftali Bennett said in closed conversations Wednesday.

Ahead of Kerry's visit, Bennett spoke multiple times this week with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel's negotiators in diplomatic talks with the Palestinians. He insisted on receiving as much information as possible about America's proposal immediately after Kerry meets with Netanyahu.

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"Bennett is up to speed and has done his homework," a source close to him said. "He will not present red lines publicly but those who need to know know."

One of Bennett's main goals has been to coordinate strategy with the Likud. Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck, who heads the Knesset's Land of Israel lobby, received commitments from most of the Likud faction to help prevent diplomatic proposals from being advanced.

Bennett and Struck intend to make sure that Netanyahu will not be able to replace Bayit Yehudi in the coalition with Labor, due to opposition from Likud ministers and MKs.

Bayit Yehudi and Likud MKs will symbolically tour Jordan Valley Jewish communities Thursday to send a message to Kerry that the settlements must remain. The trip will be led by Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Netanyahu's number two in Likud.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and National Infrastructures Minister Silvan Shalom also intend to fight against any proposal that would involve giving up Israeli control of the strategic valley.

"More cooperation is on the way to prevent the diplomatic situation from deteriorating," Struck said. "The MKs are ready for orders."

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