Ben-Simon quits as Labor faction chair

Labor MK Ben-Simon to re

MK Daniel Ben-Simon announced his resignation as Labor faction chairman at a Knesset press conference Monday afternoon. In a letter sent earlier to faction members, Ben-Simon said that the party's goals within the coalition were to promote the peace process, remove outposts and reduce socio-economic parity. Ben-Simon claimed the party had not accomplished those goals and was betraying its constituents. At the press conference, Ben-Simon said he still "believes in Ehud Barak's abilities" as Labor leader, but if the outposts the government had committed to remove were not dismantled, the party "will be in trouble." Speaking to Army Radio later, Ben-Simon said that if the peace process is not resumed within two weeks, "we must leave the government." Ben-Simon wrote in the letter that Labor had in essence split into two factions, each operating simultaneously. Ben-Simon's resignation is apparently unrelated to the request of Labor MKs Ophir Pines, Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz and Yuli Tamir to leave the party. The four lack a necessary fifth MK required to establish an independent faction.