pledged Monday to dramatically reform the way the state budget is allocated towards the settlements.
Responding to statements made by Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich,
who promised to leave the sizeable budget that sponsors the settlements untouched, the leader of the Hatnua Party
told reporters that she will fight to change the government's "skewed priorities" on the matter.
Linvi presented a plan of her own, stipulating that the government should differentiate between the settlement blocs that are to remain in Israel's control under any future peace agreement, and isolated settlements, which she branded as "political." She further hinted that she would pursue cutting these illegitimate settlements' funding, while continuing to support the large settlement blocs.
The government's "skewed priorities" (Photo: Yaron Brener)
"… We won't transfer unnecessary funds to settlements that we know won't be there in the future," she said. "Currently these funds are funneled to places of no national importance, just for the sake of this government's survival."
The distinction put forth by Linvi is reminiscent of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1992 campaign. Rabin was the one to coin the phrase "political settlements."
Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On issued a response as well, saying that her party offers the only "complete ideological alternative to the Right. And yes, it is the leftist alternative."
Gal-On, Yachimovich, Livni (Photos: Benny Deutsch, Ohad Zwigenberg, Dana Kopel)
"I believe that Yachimovich is honest and fair in saying that she doesn't belong to the Left, but social justice is a leftist concept," she said, stressing that cutting the budgets allocated towards the settlements and for defense is imperative for social reform.
In an interview at Ynet on Monday, Yachimovich said she will support handing east Jerusalem neighborhoods over to a future Palestinian state, but stressed the government cannot forsake the residents of legally-established settlements while there is no peace agreement. She stressed that Labor was never a leftist party.
Yachimovich's statement was met with criticism on the part of the Likud as well, whose officials tried to depict her as a liberal despite her claims.
"Yachimovich's true stances as a former Hadash voter are coming to light," the party said in a statement. "Yachimovich advocates for the delivery of east Jerusalem neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority. She cannot go on hiding behind a façade of a centrist party. Shelly represents the extreme Left that is disconnected from the reality that Israel faces."
Yuval Karni contributed to the report