At press conference, PMO defends first 100 days in office; officials list government achievements.
By JPOST.COM STAFF, GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
Kadima announced a new campaign Wednesday under the slogan "Bibi: 100 days, zero accomplishments."
"There is no connection between [Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's] promises and what has happened," Kadima faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik said at a press conference. "There has been a lack of consistency and strategy and too many short-term solutions that only came out of pressure, just like in his first term. The man can be pressured, extorted and bent. He didn't come back to the premiership prepared."
Itzik said Netanyahu had given the Palestinians a gift they did not deserve: "a street fight with Obama that makes the Palestinians look like the ones pursuing peace and us as refusing peace. How did Mr. Media allow this to happen?"
She said that by not saying the words "Palestinian state" on his visit to Washington in May, Netanyahu allowed relations with the US to deteriorate unnecessarily.
Kadima MK Nachman Shai called the Washington visit a missed opportunity to build chemistry with Obama and said Kadima leader Tzipi Livni would have handled it better.
"The main issue of our dialogue with the US was supposed to be Iran, but instead it has become the settlements," Shai said. "We are getting no goodwill from the US and all the government ends up doing is caving in. Our defense minister is chasing after Obama's envoy in New York and London. A few months ago we had a foreign minister who was welcome in Washington, Europe and the PA, and now we don't."
Netanyahu made an unexpected visit to the Knesset cafeteria after Kadima's press conference. When he asked reporters why he was receiving bad press, they told him they were not being told his side of the story.
He immediately organized a press conference in which his aides outlined the accomplishments of his administration in its first 100 days: the formation of a national-unity government; the expected passage of a two-year state budget; reaching an economic package deal with the Histadrut Labor Federation and the Manufacturers Association; reforming the Israel Lands Administration; the Bank of Israel Law; and building a consensus for his diplomatic framework.
At the press conference, Prime Minister's Office director-general Eyal Gabai defended Netanyahu's change of heart on Monday regarding a controversial tax on produce. He claimed that the budget that will pass next week is what Netanyahu wanted all along and that he was taking the feelings of the public into account.
"It's wrong to suggest that the prime minister doesn't know what's happening on the street," Gabai said. "It was right at the end of the day for the decision [on the produce tax] to be made at the last minute so all the other bases of the budget would be maintained. Had he announced it earlier, other things would have been canceled."
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