Pressure mounting on PM ahead of diplomatic initiative

‘We won’t let Netanyahu get away with a leftist diplomatic plan,’ warns Likud MK Danon; opponents on Right are starting to take action.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 7, 2011 01:07
3 minute read.
Danny Danon

Danny Danon (do not publish again).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

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not set a date to deliver an anticipated, dramatic address to the world and his diplomatic plans haven’t yet been finalized, but his opponents on the Right have already started taking action.

The entire Likud faction and thousands of Likud central committee members received a phone call Sunday informing them that they would soon hear Netanyahu’s big speech. But the speech they heard was one from a year ago when he told residents of Ariel that he would soon start building there and that the city would remain in Israeli hands in any diplomatic deal.

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The message was sponsored by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, which also compiled quotes from 20 Likud MKs calling for renewed construction in West Bank cities. The quotes were published in ads in newspapers in Israel and will soon reach newspapers in the United States.

“We feel Netanyahu shouldn’t be left alone to fight this battle internationally,” council director-general Naftali Bennett said.

“President Obama has proven that he lives in Lalaland with his whole approach to the Middle East. He paved the way for engaging with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. This is the guy we should trust to secure Israel? Netanyahu should remember that Israelis voted for him because they thought he could say no to Obama. They don’t want him caving in to a president who clearly knows nothing about the Middle East.”

Netanyahu canceled Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting, where he was expected to be attacked from the Right, and he has not convened his seven-member inner security cabinet for several weeks. Ministers among the seven have complained in private conversations that Netanyahu was deciding key issues with only one minister: Defense Minister Ehud Barak.



Monday’s Likud faction meeting will be the first opportunity for his opponents on the Right to confront him since he told the faction last week that he needed to be focusing on maintaining the current construction rather than issuing new permits.

MK Danny Danon intends to ask him at the meeting when he will give the key speech and warn him that the Likud central committee could be convened to stop him.

“If it walks like a leftist diplomatic plan and it talks like a leftist diplomatic plan, it certainly isn’t a duck,” Danon said. “We won’t let him get away with it, just like we didn’t let him get away with extending the freeze.”

National Union head Ya’acov Katz blasted Shas chairman Eli Yishai on Sunday for threatening a coalition crisis over the Finance Ministry preventing the advancement of a bill that would help young couples obtain discounted mortgages. Katz said what was really harming young couples was the lack of construction in Judea and Samaria and that Yishai should leave the coalition to protest it.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Tzipi Livni attacked Netanyahu from the Left, saying that Netanyahu was displaying a lack of leadership by considering delivering a diplomatic speech only so the American administration would not be mad at Israel.

“Israel’s standing in the world will not be decided by a speech, even in the most fluent English in Congress or on CNN,” Livni told students at a high school in Mevaseret Zion. “Netanyahu is merely looking for what he could say that could satisfy both Obama and Lieberman without considering what is right for our people. His rightwing government is begging to enter negotiations on worse terms than we had when we held talks.”


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