likud - Emil Salman - November 15 2010
Likud 'rebels' announce their letter to protest another 90 day settlement building freeze. Photo by Emil Salman
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Emil Salman
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely. Photo by Emil Salman

Members of Prime Minister's own Likud party have prepared a letter to protest Netanyahu's apparent willingness to agree to an American proposal to freeze construction in the West Bank settlements for 90 days in exchange for a series of incentives.

The 'Likud Rebels' plan to garner signatures from cabinet and Knesset members and submit the protest letter to the prime minister in order to apply pressure on him, before a cabinet vote will be held on the American proposal.

The rebel MKs believe that they can collect the signatures of a majority of the Likud MKs to oppose a renewal of a building freeze in the settlements.

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said, "The letter that we initiated is intended to send a sharp, clear message to the Prime Minister. The Likud faction opposes the bankrupt process of extending the [settlement building] freeze, and calls upon the Prime Minister to stick to the principles that he himself formulated."

The letter that will be presented to Prime Minister Netanyahu says, "Over and above our obligations as representatives of the Likud to stand up for the values of continued settlement, we believe that accepting the current proposal is a terrible step."

The letter elaborates on the authors' reasons for finding fault with the U.S. proposal: "Commitments must be respected, and we promised that the freeze would be one time only, and that at the end of the freeze period we would continue to build as we had before."

The letter adds, "Red lines must be strengthened, not erased. We are at the beginning of difficult negotiations, during which there will be a lot of pressure on us to cross red lines that must not be crossed."

"We must not accept a new norm under which we will be expected to pay for diplomatic support or military aid that we have received up until now only by virtue of the alliance [with the United States].