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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's aides on Saturday distanced the premier from comments made by a political ally eschewing further settlement in the West Bank.
Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, who broke with the Likud to join Sharon's new party Kadima, told The Jerusalem Post Friday that people should "build only in Israel" and that "the true Zionism of tomorrow is not to build a single additional house in Judea and Samaria." He instead supported settlement in the Galilee and the Negev.
Asi Shariv, the PM's media adviser, said the remarks were Sheetrit's alone and didn't reflect Sharon's thinking. "This is his opinion and the prime minister has a different view," Shariv said.
Sheetrit's comments coincide with controversial statements that another Sharon confidante, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, made suggesting the security barrier could have implications for Israel's final border.
Some have criticized Kadima for veering too far to the left, though Sharon's associates have said that his support of a Palestinian state and the road map has been long known, and maintained that his views haven't shifted since leaving the Likud.
Earlier in the week, Kadima unveiled its campaign platform, which calls for "two states for two peoples," but doesn't outline specific borders, territorial concessions, or settlement activity. The final platform, however, has yet to be voted upon.