Kadima, Labor call for action, not speeches from PM

MK Yacimovich: Abbas’ speech was difficult, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech was eloquent, but speeches cannot replace policy.

September 25, 2011 02:33
Shelly Yacimovich

Shelly Yacimovich 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ speeches to the UN General Assembly on Friday that the two leaders “look like they are standing on two separate icebergs, yelling at each other.”

“Two leaders stood on the UN stage, each talking to his own people, telling his historical story and blaming the other,” Livni wrote on her Facebook page. “After the speeches, I hope that more Israelis have not lost hope.”

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“Do not raise your hands or lose hope, because there is another way, and together we can change Israel’s direction,” the Kadima leader added.

“This is a time for actions, not talk,” MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) added. “The choice is between negotiations or a conflict. We are witnessing one of the State of Israel’s most difficult hours on the international stage.”

Mofaz called upon Netanyahu to “take advantage of the narrow window of opportunity and the small amount of international credit we have left and adopt the diplomatic plan that calls for borders and security arrangements.”

“The power of speeches is not enough to change reality,” he added. “That is the job of a leader. I call upon the prime minister to act, for the future and security of the State of Israel.”

Labor leader MK Shelly Yacimovich said that “Abbas’ speech was difficult, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech was eloquent, but speeches cannot replace policy.”

“Netanyahu should have realized that Israel hit a dangerous dead end, and it is the government’s responsibility to take initiative and not just describe the bad situation in a speech,” the newly-elected Labor leader said.

“Netanyahu’s call for Abbas to meet with him for peace talks is right, but now we have to actively lead with actions and not just words.”

“We must make a two-state solution a reality, in order to prevent a unilaterally declared Palestinian state that will surely cause us harm,” Yacimovich added.

“Let’s talk doogri [straightforwardly],” MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said, echoing the opening of the prime minister’s UN speech. “Netanyahu offered Abbas to meet – not to end the occupation – but to continue it.”

“Netanyahu is trying to sell imaginary peace in the UN, and to enslave Israel’s interests for the good of continuing settlements in the territories, and to keep his extreme right-wing coalition stable,” Gal-On added.

“Abbas’ speech to the General Assembly of the UN was a slap in the face to Israelis who hope for peace and believe that the Palestinians have the right to their own state side-by-side the sovereign state of the Jewish people,” MK Einat Wilf (Independence) said. “The speech read like a declaration of diplomatic, media and legal war against Israel.”

She added: “Especially given Netanyahu’s conciliatory tone, the repeated recognition of the right of the Palestinians to their own state in the West Bank and Gaza, and his call for immediate negotiations, Abbas’ fierce attack of Israel did not send Israel’s citizens a message of peace and reconciliation.

“The State of Israel should therefore prepare itself for a long protracted battle in the media, diplomatic and legal arenas, and to ultimately figure out how to succeed in it, as it has done in the past – even against overwhelming odds,” Wilf concluded.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu showed leadership by not giving in to international dictates and standing up for our security needs and the deep connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel,” MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said.

“Comparing the two speeches, it is important to point out that Netanyahu used facts and Abbas used slander and lies,” Hotovely added. “This shows the nature of the entire conflict – we only need the truth to defend our stance, but the same cannot be said for the Palestinians. The world must face the facts.”

MK Arye Eldad (National Union) accused Netanyahu of being “submissive” in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

“Netanyahu missed a rare opportunity to cancel the Oslo Accords and annex Judea and Samaria,” Eldad said.

“Netanyahu did not raise our demand for the Land of Israel when faced with Palestinian demands, and that is why we do not have the world’s support.”

MK Danny Danon (Labor) spoke out in support of Netanyahu, saying that US President Barack Obama’s policies “almost caused a disaster in the Middle East, while Netanyahu’s actions moved Obama to the right and contributed to the future of the State of Israel.

Netanyahu reminded Obama who the State of Israel is and what our connection with the US means.”

In reference to Abbas’ speech, Danon called on the PA President to “stop harming the Palestinian people,” and accused him of “chasing newspaper headlines instead of working for a real diplomatic solution.”

Danon added that Abbas’ “stupid actions are causing setbacks for the Palestinians, and seriously hurting them.”

Conversely, MK Ahmad Tibi (UAL-Ta’al), who traveled to and from New York last week on the Palestinian delegation’s private plane, posted a picture on Facebook of himself and PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat “crying tears of joy” following the PA president’s speech. Later, he wrote that the Palestinian delegation is “in high spirits.”

Tibi is facing an inquiry by the Knesset Ethics Committee following his travels with the Palestinian delegation. The UAL-Ta’al MK has said that although he flew with the PA and supports their cause, he was not a member of the delegation.

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