Lieberman 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
With tensions running high between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel
Beiteinu, the sponsors of a key bill opposed by Netanyahu were optimistic on
Saturday night that the measure, designed to curb the premier’s ability to
extend the building moratorium in the settlements, would pass its first
One day after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
realized that he had been left in the dark about a key meeting between Industry,
Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu, the bill’s sponsors were assured by the foreign minister’s party that
it would receive their support in Sunday’s meeting of the Ministerial Committee for
Legislation, and thus become a government bill.
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Even after Netanyahu met
with Lieberman on Friday in an effort to calm things down, Israel Beiteinu did
not rescind its threat to support the bill, which would require Knesset approval
of any future building freeze.
In the course of the meeting in Jerusalem,
Netanyahu and Lieberman reportedly agreed to work in cooperation from now on,
but Lieberman remained critical of the government’s alleged efforts to appease
“This is a matter of practice, and not a personal issue. A
decision like this must be made logically, in cooperation with all of the
professional elements,” Lieberman told Netanyahu.
The foreign minister
reportedly also said that it would damage Israel’s international standing to
apologize to Turkey or to compensate those hurt on the Mavi Marmara
on May 31.
Later on Friday, during an interview with Channel 1 news,
Netanyahu said that “it was a mistake not to update the foreign minister
regarding the meeting,” but emphasized that relations between the two men had
not been damaged by the incident.
“I explained the circumstances of the
meeting to Lieberman, the mistake was corrected and we continued onward. The
coalition is not in danger,” he said.
Netanyahu told the station he
rejected the notion that Israel would pay any form of compensation to Turkey or
to the families of the nine Turkish citizens who were killed in the boarding of
the Mavi Marmara
as it sought to break the IDF blockade on Gaza.
announcements bear no relation to what occurred [in the meeting],” said
Netanyahu. “Israel will not apologize that its soldiers defended
The prime minister stated that the secret meeting between
Ben-Eliezer and Davutoglu was a positive step towards repairing the
“It is not in the interest of Israel, or even
Turkey, that this relationship continue to deteriorate,” said
But on the eve of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s
meeting the tensions between Lieberman’s faction and the prime minister seemed
The anti-freeze bill’s sponsors – MKs Carmel Shama (Likud) and
Uri Ariel (National Union) – reiterated that they had received assurances from
Israel Beiteinu that the faction’s ministers would support the bill.
addition, they expressed hope that a new campaign attacking the 10-month
building moratorium had done its part to push right-wing Likud ministers,
including Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, to vote in favor of the bill despite
the prime minister’s opposition.
Sources close to the bill said that they
had been surprised over the weekend that they had not been pressured by
prime minister to withdraw the measure, which would make it very
extend the building freeze, despite the known opposition of the premier
Despite the sponsors’ optimism, a key Knesset official said
he believed Shama’s bill would not be able to pass the Knesset, even
nominally had the support of many Likud MKs. The Labor Party is almost
to oppose it, as are pro- Netanyahu elements within the Likud, which
would deny it a majority in the plenum.
Should Israel Beiteinu make good
on its threats, the prime minister’s troubles would not end with the one
problematic bill. Israel Beiteinu also said late last week that it
end the current legislative delay on issues like conversion and civil
couples, and party officials will instigate confrontations with the
on diplomatic issues that were previously avoided.
Gil Hoffman and
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.