‘Best show in town’ but arrogant, MK says of PM’s speech

Miri Regev: Netanyahu should have said "Abbas is walking in Arafat's shoes"; Eitan Cabel: “Speeches don’t change situation, pretty as they are.”

May 26, 2011 02:38
2 minute read.
The Knesset adjourning for its spring break.

Knesset session 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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Knesset members on all sides of the political spectrum took issue on Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, criticizing it in a plenum discussion.

MK Miri Regev (Likud) lauded Congress’s “widespread support of Israel’s policies,” as expressed by the dozens of standing ovations Netanyahu received.

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“Prime Minister Netanyahu presented Israel and its citizens with dignity and strengthened the firm bond between Israel and the US,” she said.

However, she added that Netanyahu should have proclaimed that “[Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas is walking in Arafat’s shoes.”

Regev also called on Netanyahu to apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria, saying, “I believe in the Jewish people’s right to the Land of Israel.”

MK Ruhama Avraham-Balila (Kadima) said the prime minister should have “held back Israel’s exaggerated self-confidence and arrogance.”

Calling Netanyahu’s speech “the best show in town,” she added that “the prime minister’s words and intentions are not the same, especially when it comes to negotiations.”

Kadima “heard the calls to join the coalition,” Avraham- Balila said. “The prime minister is running in the wrong direction, which leads to conflict and not to agreement. Kadima will not run in this direction.”

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) accused Netanyahu of being “more American than Israeli. His English is so polished, so American,” he said. “He speaks their language.” However, “speeches don’t change the situation, pretty as they are,” Cabel added. “I know that Israelis feel like ‘he showed them,’ ‘he told them off,’ but we have reached a dead end that is going to set the region on fire.”

MK Hanna Sweid (Hadash) compared Netanyahu to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“When things are very tense, like in Assad’s last speech, the whole [Syrian] parliament stood up and clapped,” Sweid said. During Netanyahu’s speech, “first the Republicans got up, and then the Democrats felt like they couldn’t sit, so they got up later.”

Sweid also accused the prime minister of “turning peace in the Middle East and the occupation into a matter of internal American politics, and everyone with a brain knows that is dangerous.”

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) told the plenum that God, not US President Barack Obama, is the ruler of the world.

“I am angry as a religious person and a historian that we are running after the US, and in this case US President Barack Hussein Obama,” Ben- Ari said.

“We are repeating mistakes of the past, mistakes from the Second Temple era.”

Ben-Ari added, “The fact that Obama is arrogant is fine, but the fact that we give into it is pathetic. I repeat – we believe there is one king in the world who can stabilize the borders of nations.”

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