Daily Israel Report

MK Danon: Is Tzipi Livni our Leader?

Deputy defense minister points to internal Likud opposition to decision to release terrorists.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/14/2013, 8:03 AM

Danny Danon
Danny Danon
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said Wednesday morning that there is internal opposition within Likud to the release of terrorist prisoners as “gestures” toward the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"There is no doubt that this is a sad day for every citizen in Israel, who sees terrorist murderers being released and celebrating,” Danon told Voice of Israel public radio.

"The decision is wrong, morally,” he explained. “The message that is being delivered is that we release terrorists in return for nothing. What have we received in return for the release? The smile on the face of [Justice] Minister Tzipi Livni and Secretary of State John Kerry? The message that the next generation of terrorists gets is that no matter what you do, in the end, you will be released.”

"When we released Gilad Shalit,” said Danon, “we received something in return. We got Gilad back at home. But we all know where the negotiations are leading – nowehere. The same terrorists who are being released will continue to incite, and that is why I oppose the move.”

When the interviewer, Yaakov Ahimeir, asked him what he was doing in the very same government that carried out this move, Danon said: “There are numerous voices within Likud that do not like this direction, and are certainly examining where we are going.

"I intend to fight this,” he said. “We will do this in any way needed. There are many good people in Likud who will not allow Tzipi Livni to lead us. This will not happen on our watch.”

Danon said that we are facing nine months of negotiations, at the end of which “we will see where we are heading – or being led.” He observed that the U.S. Mediator, Martin Indyk, the PA negotiator, Saeb Erekat, and the Israeli representative, Livni, are not very far apart, in terms of how they see the “two state solution.”

"If the agreement that is reached will be similar to the one that Livni created with Ehud Olmert at the time – I am telling you, an agreement like that will not receive a majority,” he vowed.

Livni, who head Hatnua, served as foreign minister under then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, when both she and Olmert were members of Kadima. After the Annapolis Conference in 2007, Livni conducted talks with PA negotiator, Ahmed Qaria, while Olmert conducted talks with PA head Mahmoud Abbas. These talks reportedly were not far from achieving consensus when Olmert announced his resignation from the post of prime minister.