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Netanyahu Asked to Choose - Barak, or Likud

Fallout from the Gilad Farm violence continues: a soldier goes AWOL, and Likud members warn Netanyahu: Barak, or us.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/1/2011, 10:59 AM / Last Update: 3/1/2011, 11:13 AM

Fallout over Monday's violence against residents of the Gilad Farm in Samaria continued Tuesday. A member of the Likud Central Committee warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is at risk of losing support from his own party.

In a letter to Likud MKs, committee member Meir Goldmintz said, “Today, Defense Minister Ehud Barak crossed an unthinkable red line: firing rubber bullets at Jews. This is a significant escalation in the war against settlers that he began when he was appointed to the position.

“The serious nature of this act aside, he is doing this in our name, in the name of the Likud government. The time has come to put an end to this!”

Barak leads a party with just five seats that has been given an unprecedented four ministries, even though Netanyahu would maintain a majority coalition without Barak, Goldmintz pointed out. “We cannot continue this way!” he said.

“Tell the Prime Minister: Choose either Barak, or us. We will not allow the Likud government to be used by Barak as his base from which to attack settlers,” he said in an appeal to the MKs.

Soldier Announces Plans to Go AWOL
One of the homes destroyed in Gilad Farm belonged to the family of Shimon Weizman, a soldier in the IDF. Weizman held a news conference Monday evening and announced that he will not be returning to duty.

“I fought to enlist in the IDF, to defend the people of Israel, to devote myself to the country,” he said. “During my service, the IDF sent forces to destroy my home and shoot my friends. Until the ruins are rebuilt, I do not plan to return to the army.”

Weizman, who serves in the Kfir anti-terror brigade, could face prison time for his refusal to return.

An IDF spokesman said in response, “The IDF does not choose its missions. Soldiers are expected not to mix political issues with IDF service.”

On Monday night, hundreds gathered to protest the violence, demonstrating at several locations in Jerusalem.