Rightist MKs Slam Netanyahu's 'Painful Compromises for Peace'

MK Danny Dannon of PM's own Likud party slams Netanyahu's speech to Congress, says his positions do not represent the party.

Hawkish and nationalist Knesset members have criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, which outlined his vision of a future peace deal with the Palestinians, with lawmakers from Netanyahu's own Likud party slamming Netanyahu's proposed concessions.

In his speech, Netanyahu said that while Israel would be "generous" with the size of a Palestinian state, there would be no Israeli return to the borders which existed in June, 1967, before Israel captured the West Bank, and Jerusalem would not be divided.

Netanyahu in Congress
AFP

The prime minister also said Israel should retain a presence along the Jordan River.

MK Danny Danon, from Netanyahu's own hawkish Likud party, told Army Radio that the premier's positions, as outlined in the speech, did not represent the views of his party.

"We were elected to safeguard, not hand over," he said of Netanyahu's comments about settlements remaining outside of Israel after a future peace deal.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai also emphasized that Israel cannot make any kind of territorial concessions as long as the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas remains intact.

Hardline opposition MK Ariyeh Eldad, of the ultra-nationalist National Union Party, voiced similar sentiments.

"There was no real need for Netanyahu to declare that he is ready to give the Arabs large pieces of the homeland, and nothing aside from weakness and defeatism required him to announce that in a peace deal he will abandon Jewish towns outside the borders of the state," he declared.

The main opposition block, the centrist Kadima party, also scorned the premier's remarks, saying he would ultimately be judged by his actions, not by his oratory.

"Netanyahu's speech to Congress was an election commercial," Kadima MK Yoel Hasson said, adding that it was an attempt to create a "false impression" that the premier was willing to enter into negotiations.