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'Likud MKs Critical of Netanyahu Can Leave Govt.'

Source in Netanyahu's office says Likud MKs opposing proposal to put PA over Jews can quit, adds Bennett can leave too.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/27/2014, 12:31 PM

Ofir Akunis, Ze'ev Elkin and Tzipi Hotovely
Ofir Akunis, Ze'ev Elkin and Tzipi Hotovely
Flash 90

Sources in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office shot back at comments made by Likud MKs, criticizing Netanyahu's proposal to have Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria live under the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The Likud opponents to Netanyahu's plan include Deputy Minister of Transportation Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin, and Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis.

The source in Netanyahu's office remarked that "no one is forcing Deputy Ministers Danon, Hotovely, Elkin and Akunis to stay in their posts, they can leave them any time they want," reports Voice of Israel public radio.

According to the same source, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, who was slammed for similarly criticizing the proposal, also has the "alternative to leave the government." The source opined Bennett would not do so now, stating he hasn't accomplished any achievements in office yet.

The clash highlights a growing schism in the Likud, as several MKs including those mentioned by the source are reportedly planning a "rebellion" in the party over Netanyahu's willingness to make irresponsible concessions to the PA.

Netanyahu's proposal, which was phrased earlier in a positive light as "not uprooting any settlements anywhere," was opposed by Hotovely, who said that “a diplomatic plan that relegates the Jewish settlement enterprise to Palestinian sovereignty will not receive political backing in Likud."

Bennett called the proposal "a very grave matter" that "reflects a panicked loss of values." Akunis said that the proposal to leave Israelis under the PA "can be defined in one word: hallucinatory."

Elkin slammed the proposals as well, saying they "are diametrically opposed to the Zionist concept. Whoever is pulling the prime minister in such delusional directions wants to cause a schism between him and Likud, and the entire national camp.”

PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat quickly shot down the proposal on Sunday, reiterating that "no settler will be allowed to stay in the Palestinian state, not even a single one."

Meanwhile, MK Moshe Feiglin joined the Likud members attacking Netanyahu's proposal, saying if Judea and Samaria were to be abandoned, Jewish residents should be left with part of the IDF.