Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s behavior is reminiscent to that of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s behavior before the 2005 “Disengagement” from Gaza, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said on Monday.
Danon, who heads the Likud Central Committee, spoke to Arutz Sheva after he scored a victory when the committee, to Netanyahu’s dismay, approved Danon’s proposal for the agenda to be discussed at the committee’s upcoming gathering. This agenda includes a discussion about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement.
Danon said that the very fact that he was forced to file an appeal so he can convene the Central Committee to discuss the peace talks with its members reminds him of Sharon’s conduct when he tried to push the Disengagement in the Knesset against the wishes of the members of the Likud.
"Back in 2005, many of my friends said the Disengagement won’t happen, asked why should we go against it, said that we should wait for a referendum etc,” he recalled.
“Why wait? We cannot remain silent against those who speak of a Palestinian state and the division of Jerusalem,” continued Danon. “We must stand up and say that this will not happen. It is not the Likud’s policy. We were not elected for this. We must say it in such a way that it is heard both in Jerusalem and Washington.”
Danon, who reminded of Netanyahu’s own struggle against Sharon when Sharon announced the Disengagement, said he was “concerned” over Netanyahu’s conduct in trying to change the agenda of the Central Committee.
“The Court ruled that two agendas will be submitted for the Central Committee gathering, one from the party chairman and one from the chairman of the Central Committee, and yet I need to hold legal battles so that the Court’s ruling is carried out. This behavior, unfortunately, reminds me of other times,” he said, hinting at Sharon’s refusal in 2005 to allow others with a different opinion to speak up.
“Even if there is an ideological struggle within the Likud and we'll have to make difficult choices, we have to do it while respecting one another,” he added.
“If the diplomatic issues go to these places which we all fear, I will not be there,” declared Danon. “I can never be anywhere that promotes the pre-1967 borders, the two-state solution and dividing Jerusalem. This is obvious. We are working hard to ensure we will not get to this point. The prime minister said (about Iran -ed.) that if it quacks and walks like a duck, then it is a duck, and I say the same about Kerry’s proposal. If we’re talking about a Palestinian state and it looks like the division of Jerusalem, that’s probably what it's going to be. That's why we need to fight for out truth.”
Kerry’s proposal, added Danon, “adopts the position of Meretz. They’re trying to turn us into Meretz, trying to turn Netanyahu into Zehava Galon and trying to turn me into Tzipi Livni. That’s not going to happen.”
Danon’s comments came amid concerns about Kerry’s framework, of which little has been made public with the exception of a report by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.
According to Friedman, the plan will call for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria based on the 1949 lines, with "unprecedented" security arrangements in the strategic Jordan Valley.
The Israeli withdrawal will not include certain settlement blocs, but Israel will compensate the Arab side for this with Israeli territory.
There has also been concern over the fact that Netanyahu, when asked by reporters about a possible unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, similar to the one in Gaza, only replied by saying that ‘the time has not come to talk about that.’”
Other recent statements of concern by Netanyahu include what he told Channel 2 News in a interview on Friday.
In that interview, the Prime Minister said that not all the communities in Judea and Samaria will be part of Israel in a peace agreement, but that he will do his utmost to ensure that as many as possible do remain under Israeli control.
“It’s obvious that some of the settlements will not be part of an agreement. Everyone knows that. I will ensure that it’s the smallest number possible, if we get to that point. And I will not abandon any Israeli,” he said.
The following day, Danon criticized Netanyahu's remarks, saying, "The Likud's position is to build and not to destroy. The Likud will not be a party to expulsions of Israelis from their homes, to conceding lands and to destroying communities. We already handed over territory in the past and in return we got rockets on Israeli cities.”
The people of Israel, added Danon, “are no longer disillusioned by the equation of land for peace, because in essence it is land for terror.”