PM briefs ministers on settlement talks

Likud ministers say they support Netanyahu; Yishai: "Strategic delay" in construction is reasonable.

danny danon (photo credit: Courtesy)
danny danon
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with the Likud ministers ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday morning and updated them about recent discussions with the Obama administration on West Bank settlement construction. However, the prime minister refrained from commenting on the issue at the opening of the cabinet meeting. Earlier on Sunday morning, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told Israel Radio he supports and trusts Netanyahu. Likud ministers Moshe Kahlon (Communications), Gilad Erdan (Environment) and Yuli Edelstein (Diaspora Affairs) also expressed support for the prime minister. Before entering the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Netanyahu's plan was to carry out "a strategic delay" in settlement construction, adding that it was a reasonable plan in light of the circumstances. Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, however, said that "freezing construction mustn't be discussed, by any means whatsoever." Over the weekend, meanwhile, Likud MK Danny Danon announced that he and fellow MKs had scheduled meetings with key coalition members to enlist support in opposing any construction freeze in the settlements, even if, as reported last week, Netanyahu plans to approve several hundred units first. Danon told The Jerusalem Post Saturday night that the plan includes meetings with very senior members of Shas, two Israel Beiteinu MKs, including one considered part of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's inner circle, and members of Habayit Hayehudi. Unlike other Likud MKs who still are attempting to pay lip service to Netanyahu's authority, Danon said that "the prime minister has apparently forgotten that he stands at the head of a nationalist government. With all of the secret agreements that he is making over our heads, we will soon find ourselves at a point of no return in terms of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria." Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report