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Netanyahu: Election is a Referendum on Future Disengagements

"The coming elections are a national referendum on the Olmert-Kadima plan to give away land to Hamas for nothing in return," Binyamin Netanyahu said last night.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/12/2006, 9:30 AM / Last Update: 3/12/2006, 11:47 AM


The Likud's Chairman and Prime Ministerial candidate was speaking on Channel Two's Meet the Press program. "It is now clear that the citizens of Israel will have to choose between two different paths," he said.

Netanyahu said that if Kadima wins the elections and wishes to form a government based on its platform, "the Likud will not be there."

The former Prime Minister said that the Likud means to ensure that the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert remain in Israeli hands, and will "set a new route for the separation fence/wall that will distance it from Gush Dan [the Tel Aviv area] and Ben Gurion International Airport."

"It is unbelievable that Ehud Olmert has passed Yossi Beilin on the left," Netanyahu marveled. "Even Beilin says that giving away more land must be done in the framework of an agreement with the PA."

In order for Kadima to form a center-left government after the election, it will need the support of the far-left Meretz party. Meretz leader Yossi Beilin said that in view of this, "We will influence his platform, and, for example, ensure that the E-1 project of Jewish housing between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim is not built, because that would prevent any future agreement with the PA."

Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, does not rule out joining a future Kadima government. He said that Olmert's plan of additional unilateral withdrawals "is not a political/diplomatic plan, but rather electoral, based on his drop in the polls... We do not automatically rule out joining any government; we will check the guidelines of the ruling party and decide."

Shas Party leader Eli Yishai said, "Olmert's plan is bad; giving away territory is a prize for terrorism. We will not support another disengagement."

Labor Party leader and Prime Ministerial candidate Amir Peretz, who has supported additional disengagements in the past, said last night, "Unilateral withdrawals were appropriate in Lebanon and Gaza, where we withdrew back to our borders. But the situation in Judea and Samaria is much more complex, and therefore we have to make every effort to take actions only with mutual consent."

Weekend polls continue to show a gradual drop in support for Kadima, whose support is now estimated at between 34.5 and 38 Knesset seats. The ultimate question, however, is what type of government will be able to be formed after the election. A Kadima-Labor-Meretz coalition, according to current polls, falls just shy of a majority, and Kadima will have to court Yisrael Beiteinu, the Arab parties, and/or Shas in an effort to form a government.