Mofaz declaration slammed by Likud

Likud spokesman: Caving in to int'l pressure "would be a severe mistake."

Politicians from across the political spectrum reacted immediately to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's statement allowing Palestinians to vote in east Jerusalem. "The government must stand up to pressures on the issue of east Jerusalem Palestinians participating in the elections," a Likud spokesman said. "The Likud calls on the Israeli government to resist international pressures whose intent is to allow the Palestinians to vote in the elections to the Palestinian Authority Legislative Council, in which even Hamas is participating." "Caving in to these pressures would be a severe mistake," he added, "and would not only reveal that the status of Israel and its capital has deteriorated, but would also grant legitimacy to a process in which a terror organization is participating - [one] that Israel has already succeeded in placing on the terror lists of the United States and the European Union." "The political reality is hitting Mofaz in the face after being ignored for a long time," said Labor spokespeople. "The Labor Party continues to believe, as it has declared in the past, that the participation of east Jerusalem residents in the elections to the Palestinian Authority is a clear Israeli interest. The Labor Party is surprised at the late awakening of the defense minister, and emphasizes again that the votes of east Jerusalem residents will only strengthen the moderate forces in the Palestinian Authority." "Moshe Feiglin supports giving east Jerusalem Arabs the right to vote in Palestinian Authority elections," read a statement released by Feiglin Tuesday. "This voting proves that it is possible to solve the problem of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria by bringing the area under Israeli sovereignty on the one hand (as is mandated in the Likud constitution), and on the other hand granting the Arab residents the right to vote for the parliament that represents them outside sovereign Israeli territory." According to the statement Feiglin believes "the solution that is taking shape in Jerusalem is an excellent model for the solution in all Judea and Samaria because it is based on the separation between human and civil rights on the one hand and political rights on the other." Avi Dichter, the former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), supported Mofaz's decision. "This is the most correct decision given the circumstances that were created," he said, "and it isn't sensible to deny today what we permitted previously." "It is illogical to cancel the very first elections to the Palestinian parliament in the era of Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas]," he added. "Olmert must announce immediately that the Israeli government will not allow elections to the Palestinian parliament to take place in Israel's capital," said Likud MK Uzi Landau.