Netanyahu to Likud Party Members: I Am the Real Likud

Netanyahu accuses Sharon of splitting Likud in order to help Shimon Peres become PM.

MK Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign slogan in his run against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and MK Uzi Landau for the leadership of the Likud party is "Netanyahu. The real Likud."

The slogan, which Netanyahu colleagues say is not in its final incarnation, appeared on a letter sent Wednesday to 140,000 Likud party members.

In the letter, Netanyahu accused Sharon of intending to split the Likud in order to aid Shimon Peres to be elected as prime minister.

The letter was dated September 1, but Netanyahu's campaign headquarters said it was sent on September 6 and had not yet reached all party members.

Netanyahu wrote to party members and to members of the Likud Central Committee that Sharon is propagating illusions when he promises peace and security in the wake of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the northern West Bank.

"Ariel Sharon is going against [the Likud]. Withdrawal with nothing in exchange, the uprooting of communities, the turning thousands of Jews into refugees in their own land - all these are clear violations of Likud principles," Netanyahu's letter read.

Attached to the letter were the results of a poll reported upon a week ago by Israel Radio indicating that Netanyahu, as well as Sharon, would be able to form a right-wing government in the next Knesset.