Remaining Labor MKs slam Barak, say it's time to rebuild

Braverman: Our mandate was the peace process, Barak wasn't interested in that; Cabel says Labor lost its way, needs to refocus, regroup.

311_Avishai Braverman (photo credit: Associated Press)
311_Avishai Braverman
(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Labor Party has drifted from its core values in the past two years, Labor MK Eitan Cabel told Israel Radio on Monday morning. He said the party needs to reflect and regroup following Defense Minister Ehud Barak's announcement Monday that he and four other Labor MKs will be forming a new Knesset faction.
Specifically, Cabel said that regarding the peace process and social issues, the Labor party has lost its way. He added that he thinks it is very important to strengthen all of the parties to the left of Kadima.
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Cabel said that the Labor MKs remaining in the party would need to "restore their house" to its basic principles.
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Minority Affairs Minister Avishay Braverman told Israel Radio that "our mandate was [to bring about] a peace process with the Palestinians and Barak was not interested in that." He added that from the moment the party moved away from the peace process, it moved closer and closer to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Braverman noted that Barak's decision came at a time when he was close to facing party pressure to leave the government if it were not involved in direct negotiations with the Palestinians.
The Labor minister added that he thought Barak's move away from the party was a good opportunity for Labor to refocus itself. He wished the defense minister luck.
Former Labor MK Ofir Pines-Paz criticized Barak and the four MKs who joined him in the "Independence" faction.
Addressing Barak's statement in his announcement speech that David Ben-Gurion, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres had all made similar moves to break away from their parties in the past, Pines-Paz retorted that Barak "cannot compare himself to Ben-Gurion or Sharon." He explained that Ben-Gurion made his move for reasons of historical significance. Barak, he said, is breaking away from Labor because of "personality conflicts" within the party.
Pines-Paz went on to accuse Labor under Barak's leadership of renting out the Left and the party to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government and contributing to the delegitimization of Israel, for not working towards a settlement with the Palestinians.