Netanyahu: I will run for Likud leadership
Former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces Tuesday he will be running for Likud party leadership; says, ‘the man who received our votes to lead the party in the Likud spirit has turned his back on us. Sharon has abandoned the Likud’s principles and chose the way of the left’
Former Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced Tuesday that he will be running for the Likud party leadership. The announcement was made in a press conference attended by eight other Likud Knesset members.
“Our country is facing difficult challenges regarding security, the war on corruption and the mending of the rift within the nation. I believe that only one party can face these challenges – Likud,” he said.
“The man who received our votes to lead the party in the Likud spirit has turned his back on us. Sharon has abandoned the Likud’s principles and chose the way of the Left. He is threatening to destroy with his own two hands the home he helped build. This is why we must all protect the home, because we have no other.
“The Likud is in need of a leader that would lead it to victory and lead the country in the spirit of our principles.”
Netanyahu said, “We must bring back the Likud the principles that Sharon stomped on: Uncompromising security, in the sole hands of the IDF, and no concessions without compensation."
“And I am adding a third principle, a referendum before any decision involving land,” he said.
Netanyahu's press conference was halted after a fight broke out between two activists. One of the activists yelled out anti-Netanyahu slogans and clashed with security guards.
Netanyahu, who was greeted with a an enthusiastic round of applause from activists and supporters on hand, continued with his scathing criticism of Sharon and the disengagement plan, saying, “Sharon is following a platform whereby Israel withdraws without getting anything in return, a platform that involves the uprooting of settlements and turning thousands of Jews into refugees in their own country.”
He added, “Sharon gave and gave and gave, the Palestinians received and received and received. But what did we receive? Nothing. On the contrary, Gaza is turning into a base for Hamas and al-Qaeda.”
“I have proven my ability to conduct stern negotiations with the Palestinians. I established the principle of reciprocity. If they give – they’ll get; they won’t give – they won’t get."
'The Left will congratulate those who elect Netanyahu'
As to his recent term as finance minister, Netanyahu said, “two-and-a-half years ago Sharon called on me to save the economy; a lot of courage was needed to introduce reforms and stand up to the big corporations. We put the market back on the track of growth and prosperity.”
A few hours prior to the press conference Finance Minister Ehud Olmert said that “Netanyahu is an unworthy man – both morally and as far as his personal capabilities are concerned."
“This has been proven in the past, and I hope it would not have to be proven again,” Olmert said.
Knesset Member Yossi Sarid (Meretz-Yachad) said Netanyahu's decision to run for Likud party leadership will bring the Left back to life.
"If Netanyahu is elected as Likud leader, the Left will congratulate him and those who elected him," he said.