Labor MK Braverman Says Amir Peretz Leading the Party Astray

Braverman says faction won't win more than ten seats if it doesn't return to values for which it campaigned.

Labor MK Prof. Avishay Braverman is warning that if the Labor Party does not return to the values with which it campaigned in the last elections, it is liable to disappear and reach a "one-digit number" of Knesset seats.

"The party under Amir Peretz has lost its credibility and has lost its way," said Braverman. "It's impossible to believe in it, and its conduct endangers its existence."

Braverman and the four others considered the Labor "rebels" - Matan Vilnai, Danny Yatom, Ami Ayalon and Colette Avital - are expected to propose this evening that the party's secretary general, Minister Eitan Cabel, be removed from his post. The suggestion is due to come up during a meeting of Labor officials in Tel Aviv.

Braverman told Haaretz on Wednesday that over the last few days he has heard from all over that people who voted for the Labor Party are disappointed with what he calls "our conduct."

"All the veteran members have left us, and if we continue this way, all the new ones who joined will also leave," he said.

Thursday's Labor meeting comes amid an intensifying dispute between the five rebels and Peretz, the party chairman and defense minister who pointedly did not give Braverman a ministerial position.

The five are considering raising several different proposals Thursday both on procedural issues and on matters related to the standing of the party's legal adviser, Eldad Yaniv. But the rebels will actually be using these seemingly procedural proposals to destabilize Peretz's position as chairman.

Peretz supporters said last night they were sure the chairman was capable of curbing the rebels' attempts.

Cabel is slated to announce Thursday that the procedure for selecting new party institutions, which has generated disagreements among all factions within the party, will be determined by the committee on party affairs headed by Minister Shalom Simhon. As for his own position, Cabel said he would not agree to be a provisional secretary general.

"If they want a confrontation," he said, "there will be a confrontation."