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Zvi Hendel (NU)
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Rightists: Olmert splitting nation
MKs slam PM over pullout comments; Olmert's own party members question timing of statement

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's declaration Wednesday that the war in Lebanon will create new momentum for further West Bank pullouts was met by a harsh response on the part of right-wing parliamentarians as well as members of the PM's own Kadima party.

 

"The backing Olmert received (for the war) went to his head," Knesset Member Zvi Hendel (National Union) said in response to Olmert's comments, which seemed to stun rightist Knesset members. "How many missiles and rockets need to fall on the North and South in order for Olmert to understand that state security cannot be achieved through bragging…and splitting the nation?"

 

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip (Yesha), meanwhile, said in a statement that "the continuation of the blind rush to realignment provides terrorism with a backwind and encourages Nasrallah to continue until all his objectives are achieved. It appears Olmert is interested in breaking up the consensus around the war, while this tough time calls for finding the common denominator."

 

Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman was also quick to condemn Olmert, saying that "Just like the disengagement brought Hamas to power and led to the massive firing of Qassams on the South and the abduction of our soldiers, so would the realignment plan lead to the massive firing of thousands of missiles on central Israel communities and Jerusalem."

 

"Instead of wasting billions on a dubious diplomatic adventure, it's better to invest the money in rehabilitating the North and the communities that suffered immense economic damages," Lieberman said.

 

'War defeated realignment'

 

Meanwhile, members of Olmert's own Kadima party raised an eyebrow over the prime minister's timing. Party members who declined to be identified said "this is not the time to talk about realignment. First we should examine the war's results, and only then decide on our diplomatic course."

 

Elsewhere, National Religious Party Chairman Zevulun Orlev rejected Olmert's comments.

 

"Any intelligent person realizes that the war defeated realignment," Orlev said. "Olmert suffers from diplomatic blindness. It's a pity that at wartime the prime minister chooses to split the nation instead of uniting it."

 

Far-right activist Baruch Marzel also blasted the PM, charging that "it's about time Olmert stop thinking that he rules the world."

 

"The man doesn't learn from mistakes – realignment will lead to Qassam rockets on Kfar Saba and Netanya," Marzel said.

 

Ilan Marciano contributed to this report

 

 

 

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