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      Responses to Netanyahu’s About-Face Range from Quiet to Strident

      Likud members have been slow in responding to Netanyahu’s “2-states” statement. Orlev: “Don’t give in to Western pressure, unfreeze construction.”
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 7/5/2009, 3:30 PM

      Likud members have been slow in responding to Netanyahu’s “two states” statement, but the nationalist parties, one in the coalition and the other in the opposition, were quick to express criticism.

      By mid-afternoon, not one Cabinet minister from the Likud Party had responded to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's “two states” statement Sunday morning. The prime minister noted proudly that he had managed to reach, for the first time, a "national consensus regarding the concept of "two states for two peoples."

      In the Likud
      Not for attribution, some Likud MKs are saying that they are working to gather together to take action against Netanyahu’s plan to establish a PA state, even if it be demilitarized. Netanyahu said, in his Bar-Ilan University speech three weeks ago that he would agree to a PA state on condition that it is demilitarized and that it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state.

      Jewish Home
      On the other hand, MKs of the Jewish Home, a coalition member party, and of the opposition National Union party, were quite willing to speak up. MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) called on Netanyahu, “Don’t give in to Western pressure; unfreeze construction in Judea and Samaria.”

      The Jewish Home faction released a statement of “sorrow” at the “quick erosion of the Prime Minister’s positions. The Kadima agenda does not have a majority in the current coalition.” No hint of a party threat to leave the coalition was mentioned, however.

      National Union
      MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) took a strident tone, saying, “Netanyahu is a serial turncoat. If he had spoken of ‘two states’ three months ago, he would not have been elected. Who authorized him to speak of ‘national consensus,’ when he was elected on exactly the opposite platform?”

      MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), “Alas and woe unto a Prime Minister that boasts that he has reached a consensus on a Palestinian state. Netanyahu has betrayed his voters, and I call upon the Likud members to depose him from his position as head of the government.”

      Yet another National Union MK, Prof. Aryeh Eldad, said, “Netanyahu is now following in the footsteps of Ariel Sharon, who betrayed the trust of his voters and stole their votes. Netanyahu was elected to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, yet now he festively declares that he has reached a consensus to do the opposite.

      “The only consensus Netanyahu has reached is that he is a weak leader who collapses under pressure and who tried to appease the Americans however he can. How can we understand those in the Likud who call themselves Land of Israel loyalists, yet continue to applaud Netanyahu?”