Danon Unrepentant after Dismissal
MK Danny Danon (Likud) received the letter firing him from his position as Deputy Defense Minister Wednesday morning. The letter reached the media Tuesday night, however, he says. It does not include any explanations regarding the dismissal, only one laconic line informing him of the decision to let him go.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also sent a letter to government ministers informing them of the move. That letter included what Danon said were some “excuses” for the decision.
He does not think the dismissal was justified, despite the harsh criticism he had leveled at the government's policies. He notes that he waited for the Gaza operation to end and for the Diplomacy-Security Cabinet to adopt the ceasefire plan, before attacking what he said, again, was a “feeble” decision.
Danon disagrees with fellow Likud politicians who say that as a deputy minister, he should have confronted the prime minister directly with criticism instead of taking it to public venues. Danon argues that he always says what he thinks. “Maybe this is not convenient for the prime minister, and maybe he would like us Likud members to be monks who vow a vow of silence – but we are a democratic party and it is my job to tell the truth.”
The MK says that Israel has been exhibiting weakness and failures lately – starting with the failure to respond properly to the murder of three teens, through the fact that the homes of the terrorist murderers are still standing, and on to the decision to accept the cease fire offered by Cairo.
He revealed that he and Netanyahu had “a difficult conversation” in the period of “waiting and stuttering” that preceded the military operation in Gaza. “I said things clearly: What is self-restraint and containment? What does 'quiet will be answered with quiet' mean? Why is [Meretz MK] Zehava Galon giving us compliments for two weeks running? This is a problem. This is not Likud. We are a nationalist government. We promised that if we were in power we would manage these campaigns differently, and when we are tested, we start to stutter and hesitate? To beg for a ceasfire? That is not the way.”
Danon insisted that this is not the first time he has disagreed with Netanyahu “and probably not the last,” citing Netanyahu's announcement of a construction freeze and his Bar Ilan speech on a Palestinian state as previous points of contention.
The confrontation with Netanyahu regards matters of substance, he said, and is not an attempt by Netayahu to get revenge for previous rivalries between them regarding the Likud party mechanism. He noted that just before the last Pesach holiday, he said that he would resign if the fourth batch of terrorists in the “gesture” deal was set free. He has no intetion of leaving Likud, he added, but will try to put it back on the nationalist track.