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Liberman: New Elections Preferable to More Prisoner Releases

Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Liberman says the faction will quit the government if more terrorists are released
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 4/6/2014, 6:10 PM

Yisrael Beiteinu, said party leader Avigdor Liberman, will not agree under any circumstances to another round of terrorist prisoner releases. If the government does go ahead and release more terrorists, Liberman will pull his party out of the government, most likely causing new elections.

“Yisrael Beiteinu will prefer to go to new elections than to see more Palestinian prisoners released, even in a 'package deal' in which Jonathan Pollard would be released as well,” Liberman said. “We cannot return to this kind of arrangement whereby we release terrorists to keep the talks with the Palestinians going, considering the moves they have made recently.” Liberman was referring to last week's application by the Palestinian Authority for recognition as a member state in 15 UN agencies.

The PA, he said, wasn't a real entity anyway. “Judea and Samaria are Fatahland, Gaza is Hamastan,” he said.

Liberman also criticized Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, who suggested that Israel sue PA chief Mahmoud Abbas for war crimes. “Sometimes it is better to act quietly than to make too much noise,” Liberman said.

Liberman made the comments at the Jerusalem Post Conference Sunday.

Of the 31 members of the united Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties that ran together in the January 2013 elections, 20 are Likud members and 11 are from Liberman's party. Although the two parties committed themselves to remain united for the duration of the current Knesset – and have discussed a future partnershp as well – Liberman said that he would not tolerate further terrorist prisoner releases, preferring to pull his MKs out of the coalition.

With Jewish Home also set to vote against the releases, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be forced to rely on the votes of Labor, Meretz, and the Arab parties to go through with the fourth round of terrorist prisoner releases – something he is very unlikely to do, political analysts said.