As Fatah, Hamas meet, PM vows not to cede land

Netanyahu meets with Dani Dayan after settler leader endorses him; asserts Hamas would seize any territory Israel evacuates.

Hamas and Iran would rule over any territory Israel cedes, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday, as he promised never to allow that to occur.
He spoke during a Tel Aviv meeting with settler leader Dani Dayan. The two men shook hands and posed for a photograph, as they stood near a flag of Israel and a map of the region.
“Today Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] is in Cairo, at the same time as the head of Hamas Khaled Maashal. They are investigating a possible union between Fatah and the terrorist that wants to destroy Israel and fired rockets on our cities,” he said.
“We know that any territory we evacuate will be taken over by Hamas and Iran. We won’t let that happen,” he said.
He asked Dayan to meet with him less than 24 hours after the settler leader quit his job as the head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, so he could endorse Netanyahu’s campaign.
“Internal unity is what will help us defend Israel,” Netanyahu told Dayan.
The settler leader told Netanyahu that from his home in the Ma’aleh Shomron settlement, he could look out at the prime minister and defense minister’s Tel Aviv offices.
“I believe the Tel Aviv residents are more secure because I live in Ma’aleh Shomron,” Dayan said.
“I’m certain that we are more secure in Ma’aleh Shomron because you are at the helm,” he added.
Netanyahu smiled at Dayan and responded, “You won’t believe me, but from the roof I can see you.”
“We are a small nation that needs to defend its future. We will do it together,” Netanyahu said as he reached out to shake Dayan’s hand.
The meeting follows a visit Netanyahu made Tuesday to the West Bank settlements of Ariel and Rechilim. He is currying favor with the settlers amid reports that they support the Bayit Yehudi party over Likud Beytenu, which Netanyahu leads.
Although the prime minister’s list still garners more votes than any other party, it continues to drop in the polls in favor of Bayit Yehudi.
Dayan, in the resignation letter he sent to council members last night, wrote that he was concerned settlers were abandoning the Likud.
Settlers have publicized short videos comparing Netanyahu to former prime minister Ariel Sharon and threatening to “kick him out.” People are also talking about teaching the Likud a lesson by placing it in the opposition, he added.
Polls show 34 mandates for Likud Beytenu, with the Likud garnering only 21 mandates, he said, adding that it is important to vote for this list to ensure Netanyahu remains prime minister.
“Anyone who thinks that a weak prime minister is good for the settlement enterprise doesn’t know what he is talking about,” Dayan said.
He explained that as council head he had refrained from getting involved in politics, because the council should be apolitical.
Dayan said he resigned so he could endorse Netanyahu and urge people to vote for him.
“Anyone exposed to the facts and anyone who distinguishes between the wheat and the chaff knows that the outgoing government led by Netanyahu was very good for the settlement enterprise,” he said.
Samaria Citizens’ Committee head Benny Katzover disagreed with Dayan’s praise of Netanyahu, noting that the prime minister supports a two-state solution and had frozen new housing starts in Judea and Samaria for 10 months during the start of his premiership.
But, he said, there was no question Netanyahu was the leader of the country’s Right and would be reelected as prime minister.