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'Slap in the face.' Dayan
Photo: Ofer Amram
Yesha Council on settlement freeze: PM broke campaign promise
Rightist camp blasts decision to temporarily halt West Bank construction. Marzel: Prepare to topple Netanyahu, toss him into the trash bin of Jewish history along with Olmert, Sharon

The Yesha Council said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke a campaign promise by declaring a 10-month West Bank construction freeze.

 

Earlier Wednesday, Yesha Council heads rejected Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to meet with them on Thursday.

 

The leaders said that Barak has been "conspiring against settlement construction for some time, prior to the decision on a temporary freeze.

 

"He is even refusing to approve the construction of classrooms and kindergartens," the council said in a statement.

 

The Yesha Council heads held an emergency meeting Wednesday evening with the participation of Likud Knesset members Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely.

 

"So far, Netanyahu received a slap in the face from the Palestinians and in return he gave them a settlement freeze. Throughout his entire political career Netanyahu has preached against unilateral measures, and now, shortly after entering office, he is renouncing his own worldview," said Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan.

 

"The Netanyahu government was elected based on its promise to promote settlement activity in the West Bank, but immediately after it was established this government began to constrain the settlement enterprise. The cabinet ministers are obligated to prevent this," he said.

 

'Prevent another Sharon trauma'

MK Hotovely told Ynet, "We are calling on the PM to return to the principles of the Likud party. The party's charter does not make a distinction between the status of the West Bank and east Jerusalem – that is Kadima's charter.

 

"We must not adopt the Left's policy after the Israeli public voted Right. We'll continue building in the West Bank," she said, adding, "No one in Israel actually believes this move will jumpstart the (peace) negotiations."

 

MK Danon aid, "We were elected to bolster the settlement enterprise, not freeze construction. The freeze constitutes a statement that the settlements are an obstacle to peace, while up until this point Likud has backed the concept that the settlers guarantee Israel's security.

 

"We will demand that Netanyahu bring the issue to a Likud faction and Central Committee vote, to make certain that the Sharon trauma does not repeat itself," said the MK, referring to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to unilaterally pullout from Gaza.

 

The Binyamin Settlers' Committee called Netanyahu a "leader with weak character who succumbed without a fight to pressure from the Arabs and the Americans, and decided to wipe out the Jewish settlement enterprise."

 

Extreme-rightist Baruch Marzel called on his camp to "prepare to topple Netanyahu and toss him into the trash bin of Jewish history, together with the scoundrels (former PMs) Ehud Olmert and Sharon, who betrayed their constituents and their path." 

 

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