Yachimovich cancels meeting with Peretz

Sources close to Labor leader say meeting cancelled over Peretz's "rebellious behavior" after he threatened to split party.

Amir Peretz greets supporters311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Amir Peretz greets supporters311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich canceled a meeting scheduled for Sunday with MK Amir Peretz due to his recent “rebellious behavior,” according to sources close to her.
They said she would be meeting with all the other Labor candidates one by one, but she would not meet soon with Peretz, nor would she accept his ultimatum to announce in advance of the election that she would not take the party into a government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Peretz threatened Friday to split the party if Yacimovich would take it into the government.
He backtracked Sunday, saying that his criticism was not intended to harm Yacimovich.
“Throughout the entire election campaign I said at every party meeting and event that I believe there are issues that need to be clarified ahead of the election,” Peretz said.
“The first issue is the diplomatic issue, and the Labor Party must prepare a detailed peace plan and present it to the public,” he said. “We also must say clearly and unequivocally that we will not join a Netanyahu-Liberman government.
These statements are directed at the Likud and its policies, and there is no point in turning it into an internal conflict.”
Peretz expressed hope that Yacimovich would meet with him soon in order to clear up the matter. He also said he hoped that he would be able to persuade her that peace is an asset and not a burden in the election and that “there is no reason to give up on Labor’s historic role as a leader of the peace camp.”
Dozens of members called Peretz’s office Sunday to complain about his behavior. He also faced criticism from all of Labor’s leading candidates.
Yacimovich appointed MK Isaac Herzog, who won the second slot on the Labor list, to head the party’s campaign. MK Eitan Cabel, who is fourth on the list, will head its public relations team. Veteran MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer will head the party’s task force on diplomatic and security issues.
American strategist Stanley Greenberg will advise the campaign.
A preliminary study taken by Greenberg found that the public saw former foreign minister Tzipi Livni in an even more negative light than her successor Avigdor Liberman.
The study found that the socioeconomic issue was the issue the public cares about the most.Tamara Zieve contributed to this report.