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      'Bennett's Dismissal Letter Was Ready to be Sent'

      Officials close to PM Netanyahu satisfied that the ultimatum to Bennett worked “faster than they could have imagined”.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/30/2014, 1:15 AM

      Bennett and Netanyahu
      Bennett and Netanyahu
      Flash 90

      Officials close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were satisfied on Wednesday evening that Netanyahu’s ultimatum to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett had worked.

      The officials made clear that the letter dismissing Bennett was ready and would have been delivered on Sunday had Bennett not apologized for his remarks against Netanyahu.

      Those same officials said that the ultimatum had worked “faster than they could have imagined”. Housing Minister Uri Ariel of Bennett’s Jewish Home party had reportedly mediated between the sides and led to Bennett’s apology.

      Earlier, Bennett issued a public apology to Netanyahu over the personal criticism he had leveled at him over the idea that Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria would be allowed to live under Palestinian Authority (PA) control in a future agreement.

      "In recent days there has been a lot of discussion about the idea of the PA retaining sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and certain people from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) have tried to turn an existential conversation into personal attacks [on the PM] that were never there," Bennett stated to the press.

      Bennett formally apologized to the Prime Minister, stating, "if the Prime Minister was hurt [by my remarks] - that was never my intention."

      However, Bennett also stated that while he is apologizing for his remarks, he maintains the right to criticize, saying, "I support the Prime Minister like I have to and I criticize him like I have to. It is my obligation."

      He further noted that his criticism had succeeded in "shooting down" the idea of abandoning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

      "The idea of Palestinian sovereignty over Israeli citizens is dangerous," Bennett reiterated. "It was my duty to make sure that this idea be struck from the agenda and so I acted - and indeed, that idea has been shot down," he stated, to enthusiastic applause.