Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Strong at home,Strong abroad - PM Netanyahu to convene Likud Central Committee

(Jpost).Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will convene the Likud Central Committee next month in an effort to take advantage of his current popularity following meetings in the United States considered successful, sources close to Netanyahu revealed on Tuesday.

Netanyahu had been avoiding convening the hawkish committee, which could have embarrassed him ahead of his meetings the past few months with US President Barack Obama.

Despite various efforts by Netanyahu's political opponents to convene the committee against the prime minister's will, it has not met since December 2 - before the Likud selected its Knesset list.

But now that the US meetings are behind him, Netanyahu wants to convene the committee soon to take advantage of his current popularity. A group of Likud activists loyal to Netanyahu will meet next month to officially request that Netanyahu convene the committee, and the prime minister will formally grant their request.

"Bibi strengthened himself and the nation with his speech at the UN," said Likud Petah Tikva branch head Uri Faraj, a strong Netanyahu supporter.

"The central committee will meet regardless of whether Bibi looks strong or weak. Bibi is always strong in the central committee. It has to meet because the time has come, and legally, it can't be dragged on much longer."

A Likud source noted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas convened his Fatah conference when he felt he was strong politically, and it gave him a significant political boost.