FM: Right won't topple government

Lieberman in Nigeria denies being shut out of US settlement talks, says Israel has neglected Africa.

lieberman in africa w. hot chick 248.88 (photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
lieberman in africa w. hot chick 248.88
(photo credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Despite Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman assertion that the coalition is not threatened by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to impose a moratorium on West Bank construction, Likud officials who oppose Netanyahu's plan stressed on Tuesday that MKs from Lieberman's own party as well as from other coalition factions disagreed with his assessment. One Likud lawmaker who was involved in coordinating meetings between Likud rebels and leaders of other coalition factions said that all three Bayit Hayeudi legislators strongly opposed Netanyahu's move, and that highly-placed members of Israel Beiteinu also were uncomfortable with the deal. Only Shas, the Likud MK said, was maintaining across-the-board support for the prime minister's planned freeze. The Likud MK also added that despite National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau's comments Monday during a ground-breaking ceremony in Ma'aleh Adumim's E-1 area, most Israel Beiteinu lawmakers and ministers who were uncomfortable with the plan were being cautious not to be seen as acting against the will of party chairman Lieberman's policy. In the course of the ceremony, Landau said that "the word '[settlement] freeze' is indecent." But he asserted earlier on Tuesday, speaking to Israel Radio from Abuja, Nigeria, that the prime minister had every reason to be confident. The Right, Lieberman said, would not bring down the government, and Israel Beiteinu would not leave the coalition in the face of the anticipated freeze on new building in Judea and Samaria. Lieberman also rejected the notion that he was not involved in the talks with the American administration, saying he had been fully briefed on all the details and was meeting with US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell next week. The foreign minister stressed that Israel had not, and would not, discuss any form of construction limitations in Jerusalem, and that Israel should demand a reconfirmation of the understanding reached with the Bush administration regarding building in the West Bank. The fifth coalition party - Labor - forms the backbone of support for Netanyahu's plan to impose a six-month moratorium on new Jewish construction in the West Bank. Speaking at a toast ahead of Rosh Hashana, Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak told local council heads that "freezing construction is a correct national priority." The toast, held in the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, was boycotted by council heads from Judea and Samaria due to the government's decision to freeze construction in the settlements. Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.