Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going out of his way to calm the Likud activists and rightists. On Wednesday he met with Likud local authority heads and central activists who support him, in order to prepare the ground for his meeting with settlers Thursday morning.
Netanyahu reiterated that the decision to freeze construction in settlements is a one-time, temporary one, and stressed, "The decision was made based on broad considerations, but it is temporary."
Netanyahu was warmly recieved by some 50 Likud activists and local authority heads. Netanya Mayor Miriam Feierberg said, "We don't think there is an MK who is more of a Zionist than you are. No one can teach you what Zionism is. We are in a difficult reality, and difficult decisions must be made. We are here to support you."
Uri Faraj, head of the Likud's Petah Tikva branch, vowed to "settle the score" with the prime minister's attackers. Those present criticized the Likud MKs and minister who did not speak up in defense of the prime minister on the matter of the settlement freeze and said, "We will not repeat the mistakes of 1992 and 1991, when the Likud lost power because of the Right."
But it's not all rosy within the Likud, and Netanyahu can expect some opposition from home. The Likud directorate announced to the movement's tribunal that the central committee will convene on December 29, following a petition filed by activists from within the party, demanding technical matter be discussed by the committee.
The Likud's Right branch is now calling for a discussion of the temporary settlement freeze in the meeting as well. As of yet, it is unclear whether Netanyahu will agree to hold such a session, and he has been meeting with heads of the party's branches to consult on the matter.
Earlier Wednesday, right-wing MKs slammed the prime minister. MK Arieh Eldad of the National Union verbally attacked Netanyahu in the Knesset, saying: "You are afraid. You are avoiding applying any means of pressure on a terrorist organization. You have made Israel into a country of doormats."
Eldad added, "Your voters, the national camp, those through whom you rose to power, are disappointed in you. I suggest that you call the next book you write 'How All Those Stupid People Believed I Would Practice What I Preached."
MK Nissim Zeev also came out against the prime minister. According to him, "a 10-month freeze will not be for only 10 months. We are witnesses to the bitter reality of a freeze that has been in effect for nearly a year – perhaps not totally, but one exists." He continued, "It is a shame that we have members of Knesset who think just like Hamas, and as long as Hamas isn't satisfied, neither are they satisfied."
MK Menachem Moses said during the discussion, "The headline is disengagement from building in the settlements, not a freeze. Whoever believes that 10 months from now building will resume, I believe he is mistaken. It works by piecemeal – another slice and another slice. Today Sweden is already prepared to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine."