Labor’s first no-confidence motion fails

Peretz: "Netanyahu freaked out" over peace process; Kadima applauds eight MKs for joining opposition.

Amir Peretz and Labor 4 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Amir Peretz and Labor 4 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Any hope in the opposition that the Labor Party joining its ranks last week would help bring down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quashed on Tuesday when Labor’s first no-confidence motion fell in a 52-36 vote.
Labor MK Amir Peretz presented the motion with great fanfare, accusing Netanyahu of tricking the people of Israel into believing that he was genuinely pursuing a diplomatic process when he was actually doing everything possible to create more obstacles to peace.
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“When your government was formed, you got an update from the previous prime minister about all the diplomatic processes that earlier governments engaged in,” Peretz told Netanyahu. “But Mr. Prime Minister, you freaked out. Either you are not ready or perhaps you don’t believe there can be a solution between us and the Palestinian people.”
Peretz was congratulated by Kadima MKs when he finished his speech, as was Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who attacked the government later on in the session. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said he gave Peretz extra time for his speech, because he wanted to let him get the two years of opposition rhetoric that he had been keeping bottled up out of his system.
Peretz is expected to run for the Labor leadership against MKs Isaac Herzog and Avishay Braverman.
Ma’ariv reported Tuesday that businessman and strategist Moshe Gaon had also decided to run.
Besides Labor’s proposal, there were also no-confidence motions on Tuesday raised by Kadima and Arab factions, which fell by votes of 52-37 and 54-29 respectively.
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who responded to the motions on the government’s behalf, used his speeches to attack Kadima leader Tzipi Livni for her proposals to the Palestinians that were revealed this week in documents broadcast by Al- Jazeera. He singled out her willingness to trade four Arab towns from pre-1967 Israel in land swaps.
“Livni and Kadima have been trying to advance a false narrative that, had the election not taken place, an agreement would have been achieved,” Erdan said. “But Livni has not said what her magic formula would be to reach peace after the Palestinians rejected all her concessions.
The maximum that Olmert and Livni were willing to offer, including Lieberman-style ideas, didn’t even reach the minimum the Palestinians were willing to take. So if she says she can make peace, does that mean that she is now willing to give up Ma’aleh Adumim, Efrat and Har Homa?” Minister-Without-Portfolio Bennie Begin responded on the government’s behalf to charges from Arab parties that the coalition had advanced racist legislation.
He said he opposed Balad MK Haneen Zoabi’s participation in the Gaza flotilla against Israel but he did not believe the Knesset should be used as a court to prosecute her.
A controversial citizenship bill overcame its final obstacles in the Knesset Interior Committee on Tuesday. It will be brought to the Knesset for its first reading next week.