Liberman vows to join nationalist coalition

FM begins election campaign by saying he won't be part of gov't that negotiates about Golan, compares Yacimovich to Fidel Castro.

Avigdor Liberman 370 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
Avigdor Liberman 370
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman ended speculation that he might prefer a government led by former prime minister Ehud Olmert over current Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he told his faction Monday that they would be “a central part of a nationalist coalition” after the January 22 election.
Liberman began his election campaign swinging, criticizing his competition: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Meretz.
Liberman gave a long list of the accomplishments of his party and its ministers. He said Yisrael Beytenu had been Netanyahu’s most loyal coalition partner and set terms for joining his next government.
“We have to be clear that we will not be a partner in any government that will conduct negotiations about the Golan Heights,” Liberman said. “We would not be a partner even if means breaking up the coalition and sitting in the opposition. Anyone who supported concessions on the Golan can see today what would have happened had we conceded. For us this is a casus belli, and we will not give up on it.”
Liberman’s comments were seen as a swipe at Netanyahu, who, Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday, had been willing to give up the Golan for peace with Syria in negotiations conducted at the beginning of his term.
In a fierce attack on Yacimovich, Liberman said the Labor Party head was confused between socialism and communism.
“She speaks not about Scandinavia but about Castro, Cuba and North Korea,” he said. “She confuses the Cuban model and the Scandinavian model, not only on the economic issue but also on the diplomatic issue.”
A Labor spokeswoman responded that Liberman was late in attacking Yacimovich and that he had merely joined politicians from across the political spectrum.
“Everyone targets Yacimovich because they understand that the election’s agenda will strengthen her and the alternative she provides to Netanyahu’s poor leadership,” the spokeswoman said. “Liberman and the rest of the politicians will continue to attack and Yacimovich will continue to get stronger.”
Liberman also attacked Meretz, saying it had acted as a lobby for the Palestinians inside the Knesset. He said the party represents the Palestinians to Israel and not the other way around.
On Yesh Atid, Liberman said Israel has had enough “fashionable parties” that serve for one term and then disappear. He cautioned voters against supporting a “one-hit-wonder.”
Liberman said he would reveal his party’s list of Knesset candidates on December 1 after its platform was drafted and said there will be new names on the list.
So far, the only new candidate known is Yair Shamir, the son of late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.