Cabinet ministers no-show at anti-peace-talks conference: The hopes of some 1,000 attendees of Jerusalem
conference to see high-profile politicians were dashed on Wednesday, as ministers Yisrael Katz, Yair Shamir and Uri Ariel scorned the event, contrary to its promoters' promises.
The conference was organized by the Right-wing group Nahala, and called the government to cease the peace-process and raise new settlements in the West Bank. Few hours before the event started, the ministers' declinations of the invites poured in. In the last minute, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett was rushed in.
However, the event was attended by MKs Tzipi Hotovely from the Likud
, and Avi Wurtzman and Ayelet Shaked from the Habayit Hayehudi
party, who addressed the crowd and protested the resumption of the negotiations with the Palestinians.
Deputy Minister Hotovely said: "Netanyahu called the Iranians
'wolves in sheep's clothing.' But the Palestinians are wolves in wolves' clothing."
Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin, unable to attend personally, sent a video in which he said: "Holding negotiations over delivering territory from the land of Israel
is wrong and forbidden in its foundation. We must continue to establish more settlements."
Though politicians were scarce, Yesha and settler leadership came in force. Shomron Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika said: "We'll stop being ashamed, we'll stop lowering our heads, we'll stop apologizing for being here and continue to build and develop Judea and Samaria."
Minister Bennett was verbally abused as he left the event, when about 30 youngsters accosted him and called him a "traitor to the land of Israel."
In his UN speech on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the peace talks and said that Israel and himself are committed to reconciliation and peace, though he noted the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish State, the protection of which, he stressed, would stay the top priority in any negotiation with the Palestinians.
This is not the first time in the last month that ministers and MKs have lashed against Netanyahu on the issue. Last week, after two IDF soldiers were killed by Palestinians, ministers Bennett and Katz called the PM to halt Palestinian prisoners releases, a call that was backed later by seven ministers as well as 28 deputy ministers and MKs.
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