Likud fight on freeze to be set for March 25

Court could fine Netanyahu today.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 2, 2010 04:53
1 minute read.
construction

construction. (photo credit: AP)

 
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The Likud central committee is expected to convene on March 25 for what is expected to be a highly charged debate on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to freeze West Bank settlement construction.

The timing of the meeting, which is expected to be formally announced Tuesday, is significant because it will immediately follow Netanyahu’s visit to Washington for the AIPAC Policy Conference where he will give a high-profile address.

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While Netanyahu will not meet with US President Barack Obama on the trip, he is expected to hold key meetings on the Iranian issue.

Those meetings could enable Netanyahu to tell central committee members that the Iranian crisis and other global realities necessitated the freeze, thereby alleviating pressure on him from Likud hawks at the event.

Netanyahu had been trying to delay setting a date for the meeting since the 10-month moratorium was announced in November. But after a petition from MK Danny Danon (Likud), the Tel Aviv District Court decided last week that Netanyahu had until Tuesday to announce a date for a meeting that would take place within a month.

In order to save the large amount of money it takes to rent a hall at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds, the central committee meeting could be combined with the Likud’s annual pre-Passover toast.

The central committee will also meet this Wednesday ahead of a vote the following day on delaying the election of a new committee. That vote is so important to Netanyahu that he canceled Tuesday’s Likud faction meeting and instead will convene the party’s top activists who are loyal to him at the Knesset.

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Danon will hold a rival event for central committee members who oppose delaying the election at the Knesset two hours later.

Earlier Tuesday, a Tel Aviv  district court will convene to discuss Netanyahu’s failure to implement its order that he begin the procedures necessary to elect a new central committee. If the court decides that Netanyahu showed it disrespect, it could make him pay a fine of up to NIS 100,000.

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