Likudniks to rally against PM's freeze

Likudniks to rally again

Hundreds of Likud activists and members from across the country will attend a Likud rally against the de facto West Bank settlement freeze in the Samarian settlement of Revava on Wednesday. Organized by MK Danny Danon, the demonstration will be the first protest against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policies from inside the Likud since Netanyahu pressured ministers not to attend a September 9 rally at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters. Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein and Likud MKs Danon, Tzipi Hotovely and Zion Pinyan are expected to speak at the event. Likud activists rented 70 buses to bring people to Revava from across the country. "We will demand that the prime minister reveal to the Likud faction his point of view on a settlement freeze and what deals he has reached with the Americans on the issue behind closed doors," Danon said. Danon wrote a sharply worded letter to Netanyahu on Sunday in which he demanded to know whether he had agreed to a nine-month settlement freeze in talks with American envoy George Mitchell. "Please tell me whether due to Palestinian rejection, the freeze on construction has been canceled," Danon wrote. "Right now, the situation is unclear, so please explain the government's position on the matter." Netanyahu's office declined to respond directly to Danon's letter or the demonstration. Officials in the Prime Minister's Office denied there was a de facto construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, but also declined to say whether a deal on a freeze was being negotiated in talks with American officials. "We don't want to reveal details of talks with the United States and the Palestinians," a Netanyahu associate said. "If there would be a settlement freeze, everyone would know about it." In what has been seen by some in the Likud as a statement to Netanyahu from the Right, Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom on Monday will visit the settlements of the South Hebron Hills, Kiryat Arba, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. Shalom's office said Kiryat Arba and the South Hebron Hills were part of the Negev, and therefore in his jurisdiction. He said he was proud that he regularly visits the Cave of the Patriarchs. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz backed up Netanyahu in a speech to supporters at his succa in Moshav Kfar Ahim, near Kiryat Malachi. "The government is obligated to Jerusalem, the Golan, and Judea and Samaria," Katz told the crowd. "The government will develop Judea and Samaria. We won't prevent a child in Ariel from getting what a child receives in Tel Aviv, Ra'anana and Umm el-Fahm."