Kadima MKs mad Mofaz allowed Kiryat Arba building

"Bibi was criticized by the US, but he should have been criticized by Mofaz,” MK Shai says of move to approve building outside settlement blocs.

Kiryat Arba 521 (photo credit: Courtesy/Kiryat Arba local council)
Kiryat Arba 521
(photo credit: Courtesy/Kiryat Arba local council)
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz should have prevented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from initiating West Bank building projects, especially in Kiryat Arba, which is not part of the settlement blocs near the Green Line, MKs in the party said Thursday.
When the plan to build 851 housing units in the West Bank was announced Wednesday night, Mofaz objected to the plan to build in Kiryat Arba while acquiescing to build in the blocs. Netanyahu initially removed Kiryat Arba from the list of building projects at Mofaz’s request, but the prime minister put it back on the list later that night after protests from the Right.
Mofaz faced criticism for not torpedoing the move not only from rebel MKs who want to leave Kadima and those who backed Mofaz’s rival Tzipi Livni in the March 27 leadership race but also from legislators who backed him.
“I support Mofaz but his silence on Kiryat Arba is very grave,” MK Shai Hermesh said.
“Kadima should have been criticizing this decision all day. Instead of getting credit as a moderate prime minister for abiding by the court’s decision on the Ulpana outpost, by building in Kiryat Arba, Bibi is once again absorbing international criticism on an issue that not only does the international community oppose but also his coalition partners.”
MK Shlomo Molla, who is eager to split from Kadima, went further. He said that he and other Kadima MKs would demand explanations from Mofaz at Monday’s Kadima faction meeting.
“Mofaz should have urged the prime minister to cancel the plan,” Molla said. “I am so angry at my party that no one is protesting. It is sad how irrelevant Kadima has become on such an important issue. It is intolerable that we have become spare change in a right-wing coalition.”
Molla also did not spare criticism for Netanyahu, accusing him of “declaring war on the international community” and “writing an obituary for the peace process.”
“Instead of using the entrance of Kadima to the coalition to restart the peace process, Netanyahu is slapping the Palestinians and Kadima in the face,” Molla said. “He proved he doesn’t care about peace. I don’t know if this is a reason to leave Kadima but it shows how divided the party is.”
MK Nachman Shai said Kadima should not agree to build in Kiryat Arba or anywhere else outside the major settlement blocs and Jerusalem.
“I expect Mofaz to explain to the Knesset faction why he let this happen,” Shai said. “The core of the party’s existence is to advance two states for two peoples. Bibi was criticized by the US, but he should have been criticized by Mofaz.”
MK Yoel Hasson said that as a coalition partner, Kadima must make sure that any building in the West Bank takes place in areas that will remain within Israeli sovereignty after a final status agreement.
“Israel will pay a heavy price in the international realm for giving in to the extreme Right,” Hasson said. “Whoever justifies it in silence is not going according to the path of Kadima.”
Mofaz’s spokesman responded that Kadima would continue to oppose building outside the settlement blocs. He said that rather than remain silent, Mofaz immediately objected to the housing tenders in Kiryat Arba, and Netanyahu reconsidered them.