MKs unconvinced by PM’s speech to Congress

PM's opponents on Left and Right urged him to stay in Washington, continue to receive nearly unanimous affirmation from US politicians.

aryeh eldad 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
aryeh eldad 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may have received 26 standing ovations from Senators and Congressmen during his speech to them on Tuesday but MKs from across the political spectrum were much tougher on him.
His political opponents on the Left and hard Right urged Netanyahu to stay in Washington, where he could continue to receive nearly unanimous affirmation from American politicians, with the exception of US President Barack Obama.
RELATED:Read the full text of Netanyahu's speech to CongressPA on Congress speech: PM's policies won't bring peaceAnalysis: Applause heard in White House, around world
One of the only MKs who released a statement praising Netanyahu was Otniel Schneller of Kadima, who said the prime minister had succeeded in speaking for a consensus of Israelis.
Schneller urged his faction to put politics aside in favor of the national interest.
But a Kadima spokesman accused Netanyahu of unnecessarily harming relations with the United States and said he would be judged by his actions and not his oratory capabilities.
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson accused the prime minister of staging an election campaign from Washington.
“Netanyahu’s speech to Congress was an election commercial,” Hasson said. “It was an attempt by Netanyahu to present a false impression that he is willing to enter negotiations.
The people of Israel should not be enticed and should understand that Netanyahu’s policies will lead not only to international isolation, but also to a binational state.”
Further to the Left, MK Zehava Gal- On of Meretz called Netanyahu “dangerous” and “extremist” and rejected his statement that Israel would never return to the pre-1967 borders.
“Even Netanyahu knows that there is no such thing as peace that is not based on ’67 borders and dividing Jerusalem,” she said.
The prime minister received even harsher criticism from MKs on the Right who were upset about his statement about some settlements being left outside of Israel. MK Tzipi Hotovely from his own Likud party said the speech was “a dangerous precedent from a right-wing prime minister.”
National Union MK Michael Ben- Ari slammed Netanyahu for offering the Palestinians a state, saying that he had become the Palestinian Herzl.
“Netanyahu received the greatest applause when he said that Israel is the land of our forefathers and that Jerusalem will not be divided, so there was no need for him to declare that he is willing to give up large portions of our homeland to the Arabs,” Ben-Ari’s National Union colleague MK Arye Eldad said. “Saying that he is willing to abandon settlements will only encourage the Arabs to ask for more and we are liable to pay for this in blood.”
Likud ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Limor Livnat and Yuli Edelstein praised Netanyahu for presenting Israel’s case well. They said the Palestinian reaction to the speech proved that there was no partner on the Palestinian side. Likud officials expressed confidence that Netanyahu’s coalition would not be endangered by the speech.
A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Channel 2 Tuesday night found that 38 percent of Israelis found Netanyahu most fit to be prime minister and 35% opposition leader Tzipi Livni. The poll found that the Likud had grown in support at Kadima’s expense.
Since the last poll taken by the institute during a crisis over gas prices, Kadima fell by five seats and Likud rose by four. The poll found that if an election were held now, the Likud would win 34 seats (up seven from the last election in February 2009), Kadima 29 (up one), Israel Beiteinu 14 (down 1) and Labor eight (down five).
A Geocartographic Institute poll broadcast on Channel 1 Tuesday night predicted that the Likud would win 33 seats, Kadima 22, Israel Beiteinu 17 and Labor nine.