Seventeen coalition Knesset members, including five deputy ministers, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday not to agree to any deal that would include handing over any lands to the Palestinian Authority.
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A letter signed by the MKs was handed to Netanyahu before his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, reflecting fears in Likud that Netanyahu might agree to a far-reaching deal with the Palestinians that would include ceding territory. Likud deputy ministers Zeev Elkin, Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely were among the signatories, along with Habayit Hayehudi deputy ministers Eli Ben Dahan and Avi Wortzman.
The letter reads: “Twenty years after the wretched Oslo Accords, we call on the prime minister to present our clear position to the U.S. secretary of state: Israel will not return to the Oslo outline, and will not hand further parts of the motherland to the Palestinian Authority.”
The letter was initiated by the head of the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset, coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) and Habayit Hayehudi’s Orit Strock. Other signatories included Likud MK Miri Regev, Yisrael Beiteinu MK David Rotem and Habayit Hayehudi MK’s Ayelet Shaked, Nissan Slomiansky, Moti Yogev, Shuli Moalem, Zvulun Kalfa and Yoni Chetboun.
Likud right-wing activists have recently been more outspoken than before in their rhetoric against any possible deal with the Palestinians. Last week Channel 2 reported that Danon “threatened” to oust Netanyahu from the party if he promoted a deal with the Palestinians in the immediate future. “What would happen if, God forbid, the talks lead to an agreement and the prime minister presents this deal to the government? Will we again say that one shouldn’t embarrass the prime minister? Now they’re discussing an interim agreement. If that issue arises, the Likud should stand up and declare: ‘Whoever promotes such a deal should not be in the Likud,’” Danon said.
Last week Hotovely called a press conference for foreign correspondents and said: “Four prime ministers have failed in reaching peace by dividing the land. The fate of these present talks will be no different. The Israeli government must offer a alternative plan.”