Sunday, December 6, 2009

Netanyahu to Likud MK's: Likud unity imperative

(Ynet).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Likud MKs Sunday and said that "the party is leading the country under hard circumstances. We could say that if we're going to dismantle settlements we must dismantle the Likud, but what we mean to do is the exact opposite and that's why Likud unity is so important.

"(Settlement freeze) is very hard – for me and for all Likud ministers, but the bottom line is that it is a temporary necessary step meant to protect Israel's interests."

"Even if Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) will come in eight months and say, 'Peace now,' we will begin building as we did before. The cabinet decision is time-limited," the prime minister said.

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan also tried to calm down the atmosphere in the settlements. "The prime minister has made it unequivocally clear that nine months and 20 days remain until the end of the temporary suspension, and this does not depend on anythin
During the meeting Likud Knesset Member Ofir Akonis presented Netanyahu with a long list of suggestions aimed at easing the daily life of settlers in the West Bank, including speeding up the construction of public buildings, particularly educational institutions, and approving building plans for projects that are scheduled to be launched once the construction moratorium ends.

"It is vital that we maintain unity within Likud, stand behind the prime minister's leadership and not repeat past mistakes," said the MK. "Experience has taught us that when the Right topples a prime minister from Likud, the result is the Oslo Accords or the Camp David outline, which mean a return to the 1967 borders and the dismantling of the settlement enterprise."

Netanyahu told Likud MKs during the meeting, "The party is leading the country under difficult circumstances. Some may say that we are going to dismantle the settlement enterprise and therefore Likud should be dissolved as well, but it must me understood that the goal is to achieve the opposite; that is why unity within Likud is so important."