Likud activist Natan Engelsman told Arutz Sheva on Thursday that he was not surprised by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s call to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria and build only in the so-called “settlement blocs”.
Liberman told diplomatic reporters earlier this week that the agreements reached between former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should be re-confirmed with the new Donald Trump administration.
The comments were widely criticized among nationalist circles, but Engelsman said that nobody should be surprised by them.
"I have followed him for over a decade and he is a leftist. So I'm not surprised about it. He has always been known as a man of the left, so it's no surprise to anyone, there’s nothing new here. Evet has not changed his views, he has always represented leftist views,” insisted Engelsman, who added that Liberman’s right-wing statements before elections were only intended to collect votes.
"Time after time he comes up with all sorts of militant slogans before elections. I'll remind the public of the ‘there’s no citizenship without loyalty’ slogan [which Liberman used with regards to Israeli Arabs before the 2009 election],” added Engelsman. “It’s all make-believe, it's only for the purposes of elections to rake in votes and seats.”
“The nationalist public thinks he is strong, but it's just a misrepresentation. I'm not disappointed in him, he will never let me down because I have followed him for over a decade and, as I said, he is a leftist,” he concluded.
Earlier on Thursday, Shevach Stern, the head of the Likud National Headquarters, criticized Liberman's call as well, telling Arutz Sheva that “when the Defense Minister says something the U.S. takes it seriously.”
"To say that we will build only in the 'settlement blocs' is a horrible statement. Is he trying to avoid the essential issues of the 'settlements’?" he added.