MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said on Sunday that in the wake of Friday night’s massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar, the idea of a Palestinian state must be taken off the agenda.
“The Itamar attack should be an event that causes soul-searching within the government and a significant change of direction in relation to the Palestinian Authority,” Hotovely said during an interview with Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website.
Hotovely welcomed the government’s decision, which was made following the Itamar murders, to approve construction of five hundred new housing units in major population centers in Judea and Samaria. She defined the decision as one that goes in the right direction, but added that it is not enough. “Hundreds of housing units in the so-called settlement blocs is not a statement that clearly strengthens our hold in the country,” she said.
Hotovely said that she expects Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “to strengthen the construction in Itamar in particular and in Judea and Samaria in general, and more importantly – to announce that a Palestinian state is not on the agenda. A Palestinian state means more cases like Itamar.”
As for the political positions expressed by Netanyahu, which are often similar to those of Kadima, Hotovely said that given the pressure on Prime Minister both from the direction of the left-wing ministers, the world and from Likud ministers as Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, there should also be pressure on him from the right and a demand that he return to the principles of the Likud.
“There are many people in the Likud who know that a Palestinian state would be a disaster,” said Hotovely. “We must return to basic principles of the Likud and demand our right to the land. I expect Netanyahu to return to these principles and announce that construction will take place in all parts of Judea and Samaria.”
Hotovely also mentioned Netanyahu's upcoming speech in Washington, which has already earned the nickname ‘Bar-Ilan Speech 2’, and indicated that he must choose the Likud's ideological line prior to this speech. “We have to be his brake system and remind him that the party will only back him if he returns to using the language of the Likud.”
She noted that she believes the chances to effectively put pressure on Netanyahu are good.
“If the Prime Minister sees that the majority of party members are closer to Yaalon than to Meridor then he’ll make the right calculations,” she said and noted that during the last meeting of the Likud, Netanyahu announced that he intends to hold personal meetings with each of the Likud Knesset members in preparation for his speech in Washington. Hotovely anticipates that during her meeting with Netanyahu she will be able to determine the direction in which he is going and will also clarify her position.
Finally, Hotovely said that she does not believe that the Likud is in danger of splitting as was the case with former Prime Miniser Ariel Sharon, who left the Likud and formed Kadima. Hotovely said that Netanyahu’s views are still very close to those of the Likud and all that is left is to strengthen this position.