Jewish Home MK to PM:
'You have one week to coordinate with the US'

PM asks for delay on vote to annul disengagement from northern Samaria, despite giving bill green light just a day earlier.

Shimon Cohen ,

MK Shuli Mualem
MK Shuli Mualem
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for a postponement of the discussion in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on the bill to annul the Disengagement from northern Samaria.

Jewish Home Faction chairwoman MK Shuli Moalem-Rafaeli reacted with surprise to the prime minister's request.

According to her, Netanyahu's position is surprising because last night (Saturday), she and Coaliton Chairman David Bitan "received the green light to advance the law from the Prime Minister's Office."

"It was agreed last night that the law would be raised and passed, and suddenly he hear the the prime minister is vetoing it. It was very surprising and [the situation is] unclear," she said.

"After all, there is no substantive objection to this law, not even in the Prime Minister's Office, and any necessary coordination with the Americans could have been carried out beforehand. This is not a law that surprised anyone in the political establishment. Here was a big conference which I led on this issue, with the support of all the right-wing factions, so it surprised me a little to discover that the prime minister is vetoing it."

Moalem-Rafaeli said that others had suggested to her that Netanyahu wanted to table discussion of the law until he returned to Israel since he is currently in Britain to participate in celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. "It's important to remember that the prime minister is not sitting on a ministerial committee and that the vote on the law in the preliminary reading will take place Wednesday, when he will be back in Israel. So it's not clear to me what the issue is."

When asked about claims that Netanyahu needs more time to coordinate the move with the Trump Administration, the Jewish Home MK said: "I have no problem with coordinating with the Americans. I just think that this should have been done before. If they did not finish, then they can have a week [to finish coordinating]. I will raise the bill again next week with the aim of passing it, and I hope that all necessary coordination will be concluded by next week."

"Perhaps the prime minister knows that her goal is not only to allow the Israelis to visit the site of the communities destroyed in 2005, but to create a first step towards the reestablishment of Jewish communities there, and is therefore afraid of the international condemnation which would accompany the construction of new homes for Jews in Samaria?

"I do not think anyone could think that I brought this law just to allow trips to northern Samaria, but this is a golden opportunity for the Likud to begin correcting the problem of the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, which the prime minister will have to approve or not. So if this town is built, it will only happen with the prime minister and the entire coalition."

Moalem-Rafaeli said that if the prime minister believes that the move she is taking is problematic, then he must say so clearly, but if there is no problem in the process, it should be advanced and not be opposed.

"My positions are known. The application of sovereignty is a big and important goal that I will not stop working towards, but I do not think that this law assumes all of these things."

"It was possible to coordinate with the Americans earlier, it was possible not to give a green light and not to receive such a light from the Prime Minister's Office. If we are in favor of the law, then let's move forward with it, and in the process we will see what is possible and what is not, " she added.

As for her intentions from now on, Moalem-Rafaeli clarified that regardless of what happens next, she intends to re-draft the bill. "The prime minister has different ways, but just as he has his methods. we have our methods. I assume we will continue the discussion with the intention that it will pass next Sunday as agreed, and I will continue with this amendment, which I believe the prime minister thinks is partly his."