Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has punished Deputy Foreign Minister, MK Ze'ev Elkin, by barring him from joining the prime ministerial flight to New York's UN General Assembly as was planned, reports Yisrael Hayom. The decision is reportedly Netanyahu's way of disciplining Elkin, after Elkin embarrassed Netanyahu politically.
Elkin will have to take a regular El Al flight that leaves Saturday night. He will be replaced on the prime minister's plane by Minister Gilad Erdan. Both Elkin and Erdan are members of Likud.
According to the report, Netanyahu is upset because of a speech Elkin delivered at a Likud event ten days ago, and also because of a petition he co-signed with about 30 other MKs, calling on Netanyahu to cancel any further releases of terrorist prisoners.
In the speech, Elkin quoted Netanyahu's own words, 11 years ago, regarding the possibile establishment of a Palestinian state. “The Palestinians will enjoy all of the rights,” Netanyahu said then, “except for one right – the right to annihilate Israel. Self rule – yes. A state – no.”
Netanyahu added, then: “They tell us that the Palestinian state is a vision for the future. Well, our nation also has a vision for the future. 'And the wolf will dwell with the sheep. When that vision is realized in the Middle East, we will go back and reconvene the Likud Central Committee and discuss the issue again.”
By quoting Netanyahu, Elkin was showing that he has backtracked on his stated principles. Netanyahu now favors a "demilitarized" Arab state inside Judea and Samaria.