Kadima: PM sent 4 ministers to outposts
Ya'alon, Yishai, Herschkowitz and Edelstein raise opposition's ire in visit to evacuated Homesh.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 18, 2009 00:06
2 minute read.
Moshe Yaalon 88 248.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The four cabinet ministers who toured unauthorized West Bank outposts on Monday were sent there by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an effort to create facts on the ground to prevent their removal, a Kadima spokesman charged on Monday.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon (Likud), Interior Minister and Shas chairman Eli Yishai, Science and Technology Minister and Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) raised the ire of Kadima and the Left when they visited outposts as well as the dismantled settlement of Homesh that was removed during the Gaza disengagement in 2005.
"The people of Israel deserve an answer about whether to believe the Netanyahu who talks about 'two states for two peoples' or the one who sends his senior ministers to swear allegiance to all the illegal outposts and to take steps that block the creation of two states for two peoples," the Kadima spokesman said. "Netanyahu is going against the opinion of the entire world, and the people of Israel are liable to pay the price in the loss of strategic interests like maintaining the settlement blocs."
Kadima said Netanyahu's lack of reaction to the tour constituted an endorsement of it. But Yishai's spokesman said the visits had not been coordinated with the Prime Minister's Office. Sources close to Netanyahu denied Kadima's allegations, but declined to comment about the tour because the prime minister was on vacation.
Later Monday, the Prime Minister's Office said in response, "The subject of the outposts in Judea and Samaria is being dealt with jointly by the Defense Ministry."
It added that "government policy with regard to the outposts was based on an examination of all the relevant information." It said it would "enforce law in those places [outposts] where it had been broken."
Left-wing MKs competed to criticize the tour, as well as Ya'alon's statements about rebuilding Homesh.
"The August heat seems to have gotten to the right-wing ministers," Meretz chairman Haim Oron said. "Their declarations about the need to return to Homesh prove that they are starting to dangerously hallucinate. These ministers apparently have decided to intensify Israel's conflict with the world."
Labor rebel MK Eitan Cabel said the tour proved that Israel had a "right-wing, delusional government."
"Woe to the government whose ministers take an active role in challenging the rule of law," he said.
Fellow Labor rebel MK Ophir Paz-Pines blamed both the prime minister and Labor chairman Ehud Barak and called on the party to leave the coalition.
"Netanyahu must decide if he is the prime minister of the nation or of the extreme Right," Paz-Pines said. "Amid such irresponsible expressions of the ministers, Netanyahu is hiding and Barak is remaining silent. Even Labor must have red lines."
Sources close to Barak responded by promising that outposts would be removed and the rule of law would be maintained.