As Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators met in Washington to restart peace talks, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) was in the U.S. as well, presenting his own view on the talks.
“I don’t like the fact that Tzipi Livni is the chief negotiator of the State of Israel along with Abu Alaa and Martin Indyk,” Danon stated during the meeting. “Who is representing us? Who thinks about the Jews who are living in Judea and Samaria? No one! It was proven that all of them, in the past 10 years, were willing to sign agreements that were bad for Israel.”
He admitted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could legally take an agreement with the Palestinian Authority and bring it to a referendum, bypassing the Likud Central Committee.
“Legally, he can bypass the Likud party,” said Danon. “Sharon did that in the past. Sharon went even further: He went to a referendum among the Likud members, lost, ignored it and went ahead with the Disengagement.”
Netanyahu could “cook” a peace agreement with the PA and then bring it to the public for a referendum, warned Danon.
Danon recently spoke out against a two-state solution to solve the Israeli-Arab conflict, and said that if Netanyahu brings the issue of a Palestinian state to a vote in the government, nobody will vote in favor.
Livni quickly denounced Danon's remarks, saying, "The prime minister must decide if he is going to allow 'Danonism' to control the debate or if he will let forces that understand that a diplomatic solution is in Israel's interest make a decision.”
She and members of her Hatnua party later worked behind the scenes to enlist the Yesh Atid party into a bloc within the coalition that would promote negotiations and work against the so-called “Danonism”.
Initially, Yesh Atid responded positively to Hatnua’s overtures, but following an inquiry from the Maariv daily, sources in Yesh Atid reportedly said they would rethink this positive attitude – because no one consulted them about talking to the media.