yaalon great 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The right flank of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party backed up
Netanyahu on Tuesday, a day after he hinted in a speech to the Knesset that he
might not keep Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that are not part of
Hawkish ministers and MKs in Likud were initially upset
about the speech, and expressed concern that the prime minister was straying too
far from the principles of the party. But Netanyahu spoke to them and reassured
them that he was merely stating ideas of a consensus of Israelis, and not his
“The prime minister tried in his speech to outline the
views of the Israeli consensus, according to his understanding of the most
concessionary views within that consensus about how to solve the
Israel-Palestinian conflict,” Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon said at a conference in
the Jordan Valley.
“He insisted that for them to be a partner, the
Palestinians must recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and agree
that any territorial concession will end the conflict and put a stop to
Palestinian claims,” Ya’alon added.
Environment Minister Gilad Erdan told
Israel Radio that he agreed with every point Netanyahu made in the speech. Erdan
joined other Likud ministers in coming out in favor of annexing settlement blocs
if the Palestinians declared a state unilaterally at the United Nations General
Assembly in September.
MK Tzipi Hotovely – who complained to Netanyahu
after the speech that “settlement blocs is a Kadima term and not a Likud term,”
and asked why he was giving up settlements outside the blocs – accepted
Netanyahu’s response that this was not his intention. She said the prime
minister told her that settlements outside the blocs were not in
But a minister in the Inner Security Cabinet, and multiple
advisers to Netanyahu, confirmed that when he spoke about keeping the
settlements in the blocs, the prime minister did intend to infer that
settlements outside the blocs were open for negotiations.
A source close
to Netanyahu said last July that when Netanyahu referred to defensible borders
in his June 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, he was referring to the settlement
blocs. He also noted that Netanyahu made a point of planting trees on Tu B’Shvat
in Ariel, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion.
Michael Eitan, who has been pleading with Netanyahu to focus on the blocs for
two years, welcomed Netanyahu’s speech.
“Now he will start off his trip
to the US on the right foot,” Eitan said. “Netanyahu’s statement is important
and it should enable good meetings for him in Washington. I feel he has more of
a chance to return from the trip successfully – not just with applause in
Congress, but also with support from the White House.”
head Ya’acov Katz released a statement on Tuesday night listing the populations
of 123,767 communities in Judea and Samaria that he believed Netanyahu was
giving up on.
A source close to Netanyahu mocked Katz for including on
the list communities in the Jerusalem corridor, such as Givat Ze’ev and Har
Adar, that the source said no prime minister would ever consider giving away.