National Union sources claim Netanyahu promised no reference to road map, Annapolis in guidelines.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu promised the National Union faction that the guidelines of the coalition he is forging will not refer to a Palestinian state, the road map peace plan or the Annapolis diplomatic process, sources in the party revealed on Sunday.
The National Union sought assurances from Netanyahu that there would be no hint of a Palestinian state in the guidelines, in return for the party's endorsement of him in its meeting with President Shimon Peres on Thursday before he tasked Netanyahu with forming a government.
"Netanyahu didn't say in his own words that a Palestinian state would not be mentioned in the guidelines, but after we asked for that, he replied that we will be able to live with the coalition guidelines," National Union MK Arye Eldad said.
The revelation of Netanyahu's promise came at a sensitive time, ahead of his meeting with Kadima leader Tzipi Livni at the capital's Inbal Hotel on Sunday night.
Likud officials have said they would be willing to keep the four-MK National Union out of the coalition if Kadima's 28 lawmakers would join.
The National Union faction decided to insist on the absence of references to a Palestinian state in the guidelines in a meeting in Beit El the day after the February 10 election.
Incoming MK Michael Ben-Ari of the Eretz Yisrael Shelanu party that is part of the National Union suggested in the meeting that the faction also rule out joining any government that would hold talks about giving up territory to the Palestinians or Syria.
"We will only enter a government that will promise not to talk about giving up part of the Land of Israel to our Arab enemies," Ben-Ari said in an interview printed in an Eretz Yisrael Shelanu flyer that was distributed in synagogues over the weekend.
"Past experiences have proven that Netanyahu can't be trusted. Only an explicit promise from him that he won't talk about giving up land and that he will stop any negotiations to destroy the land will allow us to sit with him. Anything less won't allow us to join a coalition with him," he said.
In a meeting of the National Union faction on Sunday, Ben-Ari said he was misquoted.
But his words were taken seriously by Livni's associates, who brought them to her attention, and by MKs in the Likud.
"There is no doubt that a Likud-led government will negotiate with the Palestinians," Likud MK Dan Meridor said on Sunday. "There is no other way that would be logical."
"When this is what Netanyahu says about the coalition guidelines and these are the people he calls his natural partners, it is clear why there is no way to build a partnership between Kadima and Likud," Kadima faction chairman Yoel Hasson said.
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