'Next gov't won't recognize document'

Olmert's political opponents criticize news that Israel and the PA are working on a draft peace proposal.

Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
The Knesset's right-wing opposition greeted the news of a possible peace accord draft between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with cynicism Saturday, accusing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of acting out of personal interest and warning that any proposal would not survive in a new government. "There is a risk that considerations of political survival will influence fateful decisions on security and diplomatic issues," said Likud MK Michael Eitan, in response to statements made by Palestinian Authority negotiator Ahmed Qurei ("Abu Ala") that Israel and the PA had begun drafting an agreement. Eitan added that this was a further example of the fact that the security and diplomatic situation demanded a change of administration, in order to be able to engage in long-term planning. "It is important to emphasize that the next government will not recognize this document," Israel Beiteinu chairman and prime minister's former coalition partner Avigdor Lieberman said. "The document must be viewed as an underhanded move intended for [the government's] survival, and not a serious diplomatic accord reached responsibly and in good judgment." Likud MK Silvan Shalom described Saturday's announcement as "another spin aimed at creating the visage of a peace process" tying it to the announcement made last month by Olmert, confirming that talks were also being held with Syria. Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar accused Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of engaging in a political fistfight while "selling Israel's national interests." "The only reason to put these things in writing is to force the next government to be stuck with wide-reaching concessions. The attempt to do so during the last moments of the Livni-Olmert government should be seen as a scandalous attempt at kidnapping policy." But criticism of the plan was not restricted to the right wing. MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) also expressed her doubts, adding that the only way that the agreement would be taken seriously was if Olmert's government resigned, allowing a government that the public trusted to take the reins of a peace deal. MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) was also doubtful as to the prospects of a deal. "There are fundamental and serious gaps between the sides," he said. "Drafting a proposal is trivial in negotiations, and does not indicate agreement."