Right blasts Netanyahu for offer to extend freeze

Rivlin says Israel should not have to make any concessions to receive fundamental recognition of Jewish state from Palestinians.

Talking Peace 311 (photo credit: lior Mizrahi (AP))
Talking Peace 311
(photo credit: lior Mizrahi (AP))
Politicians on the Right blasted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday for his declaration at Monday’s Knesset session that he would be willing to extend the West Bank construction moratorium if the Palestinian Authority recognized Israel as a Jewish state.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Israel should not have to make any concessions to receive something so fundamental from the Palestinians.
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“I would not volunteer anything in return for this,” Rivlin said in an interview with the haredi radio station Kol Hai.
Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon expressed similar doubts about Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in an interview with Army Radio.
“There is no chance in the years ahead for a peace deal with the Palestinians,” Ya’alon said. “The Palestinians think the occupation began in 1948, not 1967. Not just Hamas – Abbas thinks so, too. We need to be free of illusions. Their lack of recognition of Israel as the home of the Jewish people and their unwillingness to establish that an accord would be the end of mutual claims teach us that they are not interested in Israel as a state beside them.”
National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz said that if Netanyahu extended the freeze, Habayit Hayehudi and Likud MKs would quit the coalition in protest.
Meanwhile, Labor chairman Ehud Barak called on Kadima to join the coalition, at a socioeconomic forum organized by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.
Kadima rejected the offer in a statement, saying, “Just yesterday, Barak cast a large doubt on the the seriousness of the government’s intentions to make peace, the same government that he held upright. Today, he wants Kadima to provide him with a kashrut certificate for his continued presence there.”
In their speeches at the same event, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and her predecessor at the helm of the party, Ehud Olmert, blamed Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for the deterioration of Israel’s image internationally. Livni said Lieberman’s behavior could harm Israel’s chances of upgrading relations with the European Union, and that Netanyahu mishandled his relationship with US President Barack Obama.
“It is important for Israel that the US and its president be strong,” Livni said. “Anyone who for political reasons hopes for the weakening of the president does not understand what this could do to Israel.”