Israel Beiteinu divided over Netanyahu plan

"We each have our own views and we say what we want," MK Uzi Landau, of the usually monolithic party, says.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
June 17, 2009 22:36
1 minute read.
uzi landau 88

uzi landau 88. (photo credit: )

 
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The Israel Beiteinu Party is known for speaking in the monolithic voice of party chairman Avigdor Lieberman. He makes the big decisions in the party, consulting a secretariat that does not contradict him, and the Israel Beiteinu faction does not meet without him. When Israel Beiteinu MK Israel Hasson acted too independently, he was shown the door, and he is now in Kadima. But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan for a demilitarized Palestinian state has divided the party in a way that was previously unimaginable. Lieberman issued a statement from Paris praising the plan on Sunday night and has given interviews backing up Netanyahu. His deputy in the Foreign Ministry, MK Danny Ayalon, has also been one of the plan's most vocal proponents. But at a meeting of the Israel Beiteinu Anglo division on Tuesday night, Lieberman's number two, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, slammed Netanyahu's plan and mocked the foreign policy led by Lieberman himself. "I have a problem with the prime minister using the words Palestinian state," Landau said. "I don't think it's just semantics when the leader of the nationalist camp talks about creating a demilitarized Palestinian state. No one in the future will remember what his conditions were." Asked about the apparent dispute, Landau said that when he joined Israel Beiteinu, he received permission from Lieberman to maintain independent views opposing the party's diplomatic plans for exchanges of populations and territories and that opposing a demilitarized Palestinian state was part of that. "We each have our own views and we say what we want," Landau said. Israel Beiteinu faction chairman also spoke his mind when he attended a conference against a Palestinian state and said "we oppose any situation whereby a Palestinian state is created beside the state of Israel" the very same day that Ayalon spoke in favor of creating such a state. Lieberman's associates said he had no problem with MKs expressing independent views, but a source close to Hasson said Israel Beiteinu was still "far from becoming a democracy."

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