Right-wing MKs plan anti-summit protest

Opposition wants to 'wake public out of stupor,' pressure Shas, Israel Beiteinu to pull out of gov't.

benny elon 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
benny elon 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As Israeli and Palestinian leaders pushed forward with their peace negotiations, right-wing Knesset members said Tuesday they would be mounting a renewed public campaign against the upcoming peace conference in the US this month, in an effort to reinvigorate public opposition to the government's moves. "Annapolis, like [the] Oslo [accords] and the [Gaza] disengagement will not bring peace but will lead to bloodshed like we saw in September 2000 after the failure of the Camp David talks," said MK Benny Elon (National Union-National Religious Party). He has put forward his own peace plan, which maintains Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and would recognize Jordan as the official representative of the Palestinians. He said his alternative peace proposal would be highlighted in the coming days with new advertisements and Internet promotions against the government's positions. "The public understands that Jerusalem will not be divided at Annapolis, but the summit could lead to a process which would endanger the future of Israel," Elon said. "Unfortunately, the public wakes up only when it is too late." "The public is in a stupor, and we must wake them up," National Religious Party secretary-general Sar-Shalom Jerby said. He has been charged with the party's campaign against any future division of Jerusalem. Jerby said party activists will launch a public petition next week against dividing the capital, and will be distributing hundreds of thousands of fliers against such a move. No mass public protests have been planned to date, he said. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday the US-sponsored peace conference will take place in the last week of November, with invitations expected to be issued in the coming days. "The Annapolis summit is likely to endanger the State of Israel since the Palestinians have never kept any agreement which called for them to liquidate the terror infrastructure," MK Zevulun Orlev (National Union-NRP) said. With Olmert facing both the publication of an imminent final war report, which is expected to strongly criticize the government for its handling of last year's inconclusive Lebanon War, as well as multiple police investigations over allegations of criminal wrongdoing, there was concern that the premier was more concerned with his political survival than with the future of the state, he said. Orlev said recent acts by far-right activists - whom he called the "crazy right," and who have received widespread coverage in the media - only damages the Israeli Right. The actions by the far-right, which included putting up posters of President Shimon Peres dressed in a keffiyeh, have overshadowed more mainstream voices on the Right such as the NRP. The MKs' planned public campaign is directed at the two right-wing parties in Olmert's coalition government. Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas have been threatening to pull out of the government since Vice Premier Haim Ramon expressed support for a division of Jerusalem. The two parties combined control 23 seats in Olmert's 78-seat Knesset majority, and could likely force new elections if they bolted the government.