Government causing damage, says Netanyahu
Opposition leader slams Prime Minister Olmert ahead of US-sponsored peace conference. 'The problem is not whether to go or not to go to Annapolis, but what to do there,' he says, warning that Israel has failed to meet any of goals set ahead of summit. Likud MK Sa'ar: Drying out settlements is an anti-Zionist act
Addressing the upcoming US-sponsored Mideast peace conference, Netanyahu noted, "The problem is not whether to go or not to go to Annapolis, but rather what to do there.
"We don’t have a partner, we want reciprocity, we want security. None of these conditions is being implemented in Annapolis, but these are the conditions that will guide us, just like they guided (former Prime Minister) Menachem Begin 30 years ago," the Likud chairman added.
Netanyahu argued that Israel had failed to meet any of its stances, and will not even be recognized as a Jewish state.
"The public wants sane peace, not hallucinatory peace. The prime minister must know how to negotiate on the important principles, headed by security. We shall lead the country once again and return the principles of security and reciprocity to the negotiations with our neighbors," he said.
Likud faction chairman, Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar, also slammed the government and the prime minister, saying that "the thought that the release of prisoners will create conditions for peace has been refuted so many times."
Sa'ar stated that "the moves aimed at drying out communities and towns in the Judea and Samaria and harassing every community, including cities beyond the Green Line – are cruel and anti-Zionist acts."
Sa'ar added, "The third dangerous thing is the attempt to bypass the political difficulties faced by the prime minister inside his coalition through an American document in Annapolis. This document will remain a tragedy forever."
The opposition leader spoke shortly after the government approved the release of 441 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture aimed at bolstering Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of the Annapolis conference.
Three Shas ministers, two Yisrael Beiteinu ministers and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) voted against the move.
Sources at the Prime Minister's Office said that the release would not harm the efforts to free kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, as these were not prisoners demanded by Hamas.