Likud rebellion against Netanyahu emerges

Group of hawks inside faction send Netanyahu letter urging him not to agree to a Palestinian state.

tzipi hotovely 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tzipi hotovely 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A long-awaited rebellion against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Likud MKs began to emerge on Monday when a group of hawks inside his faction sent him a letter urging him to build in Judea and Samaria and not to agree to the formation of a Palestinian state. MK Tzipi Hotovely initiated the letter a day after Netanyahu told the cabinet that his government had brought about a consensus on the need for two states for two peoples. Channel 2 reported that half of the Likud faction had signed the letter. The signatories include deputy minister Ayoub Kara and Danny Danon, Miri Regev, Tzion Pinyan, Carmel Shama and Yariv Levin. "We Likud MKs are turning to you due to reports that you would agree to freeze settlement growth temporarily in parts of Judea and Samaria, despite our promise to the voters to continue building in the settlements," the MKs wrote in the letter. "The Likud has always been in favor of natural development in Judea and Samaria, including during the election campaign." The letter included quotes from Netanyahu himself supporting natural growth in the West Bank from as recently as May. The MKs lashed out at Netanyahu for supporting the creation of a Palestinian state. "As Likud members, we cannot support a two state solution on principle," the MKs wrote. "[Such a solution] is neither possible, nor proper, due to the moral right of the Jewish people to the land and for security reasons. Saying otherwise delegitimizes the Israeli struggle for the land." Levin said the letter was "too gentle" from his point of view, but that it should be seen as the first warning against Netanyahu that the patience of the MKs who signed it was wearing thin. Asked whether the rebellion had begun, he said calling it as such would harm their effort. In Monday's Likud faction meeting, Danon accused Netanyahu of "defrauding Likud voters" by supporting a Palestinian state, which he said was opposed by a majority of Likud members and MKs and even by a majority of the nation. Netanyahu responded in the meeting that his statements in favor of a demilitarized Palestinian state had led to key diplomatic achievements, including the Quartet calling on the Palestinians to declare an end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of a peace agreement.