binyamin netanyahu 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was warmly welcomed upon his return from his recent trip to the US, as his Likud colleagues commended his refusal to yield to the United States' demand to cease building in east Jerusalem.
Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat said Thursday that "No one should concern itself with Israel's interests except for Israel." She continued, "The expectation that there will be no further building is irrational. I fully support the prime minister's decision not to appease the US's expectations."
Livnat added that "the strategic relationship with the United States, which is very important and has developed over many decades, will remain intact even if there is a disagreement between the countries."
Coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin said that Netanyahu received broad support to travel to the US, as members of both the coalition and the opposition wholeheartedly agreed that he stand up for national interests, and not concede to demands to stop building in Jerusalem. "Without continual building in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem, there will be no future for the city as the capital of the State of Israel with a Jewish majority," Elkin said. MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that in his opinion, "Netanyahu must not surrender to American pressure."
Also on Thursday, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz praised Netanyahu for “protecting Israeli interests” by refusing to accept American demands to freeze construction in Jerusalem.
“We are not a leftist government, and construction in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is in the consensus,” Channel 10 quoted Hershkowitz as saying.
Hershkowitz, chairman of Habayit Hayehudi party, added that Israel “Is
not looking for a dispute with our great friend [the US] - but our
responsibility is to the Israeli people. We are an independent state,
not an American satellite.”
In an interview with Radio Darom, MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima) called upon
Netanyahu to invite Kadima into the coalition, and said that "national
responsibility comes before responsibility to political parties, and
it is time that the prime minister suggest a fair proposal to Kadima in
order to help them out of the crack they have fallen through."
Hermesh described the prime minister upon his return to Israel as
"defeated, embarrassed and humiliated." He stressed that Netanyhau's
actions had placed Israel in a very severe political position, saying
that though the current government was fated to "collapse," some of the
damage wrought by the prime minister would be "irreversible."