'Obama adopting Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s end'

Likud's Dannon says US president trying to force plan on PM; Livni: Speech was in Israel’s interest, urges Netanyahu to revive talks.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
May 19, 2011 20:53
2 minute read.
Danny Danon

Danny Danon (do not publish again). (photo credit: Flash 90)

 
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MKs on the Right expressed outrage on Thursday night at US President Barack Obama’s call for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, in an exchange of territory for security.

They called upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to reject Obama’s plan when he meets with him on Friday in Washington.

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“Barack Hussein Obama adopted Yasser Arafat’s staged plan for Israel’s destruction, and he is trying to force it on our prime minister,” Likud MK Danny Danon said. “All that was new in the speech was that he called for Israel to return to 1967 borders without solving the crisis. Netanyahu has only one option: Tell Obama to forget about it.”

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, also from the Likud, who as a minister close to Netanyahu must be more diplomatic, said on Channel 2 that according to Obama’s approach, the Palestinians would receive what they were demanding on borders before negotiations begin.

“Once they have everything from the start, they have no reason to make any concessions,” Erdan said.

But opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Obama’s plan was clearly in Israel’s interests, while the diplomatic stalemate that she believes was brought on by Netanyahu is not.

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“On his visit, Netanyahu must display the leadership necessary now to create the conditions necessary to restart negotiations with those who are ready to end the conflict,” Livni said. “Only a real Israeli initiative with content that can receive American and international support can be an answer to the current dangers and opportunities.”

Her Kadima colleague, MK Yoel Hasson, warned that if Netanyahu did not take immediate action, he would bring Israel into deeper international isolation and have borders forced on the country unilaterally.

Kadima’s MK Otniel Schneller turned the focus back on his own party, however, calling on the opposition’s leadership to take a strong stand behind the prime minister on issues of foreign policy in light of Obama’s speech.

“Obama’s speech has placed before Israeli society and its representatives the challenge of unity and national agreement. The political disagreements and the motivation of the opposition parties should not overpower their responsibility for the future of the state,” Schneller said.

“On the level of diplomatic policy, Kadima believes in the same principles presented by the prime minister, which constitute the basis for a diplomatic program that the previous government under [prime minister Ehud] Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni tried to advance,” he added. “It would be appropriate if during the prime minister’s meeting with President Obama, everyone knew that the prime minister has no opposition when it comes to realizing his diplomatic initiative. We should expect mature leadership from the heads of all of the Zionist parties on the existential questions facing Israel and its strategic interests.”

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) criticized the speech, saying Obama offered “nothing new” in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Tibi told Channel 2 news the speech was intended more for Arab audiences who have been participating in pro-democracy protests in the past several months “Obama is riding the tiger of Arab democracy,” he said.

Referring to the US president’s speech in Cairo in June 2009, Tibi concluded by nicknaming Thursday’s address: “Cairo Speech II.”

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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