Thursday, January 09, 2014

Bennett Ready to Dump Netanyahu Over Withdrawals

David Lev

Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party is ready to walk out on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu if the government adopts a framework to be proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that is likely to demand that Israel make major withdrawals from Judea and Samaria.

Bennett has already told Netanyahu this, sources in the party told Maariv Thursday, and the Prime Minister is aware of the consequences of approval of the framework.

The claims come just over a week after Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem said that the surrender of land was her party's "red line" for staying in the coalition.

The framework is expected to lay out the final goals and eventual shape of a final-status deal, with Israel committing to give up land in Judea and Samaria, and the PA expected by Kerry to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and to back off on some of its demands.

The sources said there was no love lost between Bennett and Netanyahu. “We know very well that Netanyahu will try to get rid of Bennett at his first opportunity, and the approval of the framework would be a good opportunity. But we will not give the Prime Minister this opportunity. We are going to be the ones to decide what to do and when, not him.”

However, senior government officials are doubtful that any agreement will approved. The officials, quoted in Yisrael Hayom, said that based on Kerry's public statements and conversations with them, the officials quoted said they don't expect anything useful to emerge from the process.

“Kerry is here in the region a lot, but he has almost no understanding of how things work in the Middle East. As a result, the American plan is unsophisticated, and does not answer the needs of both sides,” the officials said.

“There is no connection between the positive statements Kerry is making in public and the details of the deal. He is, to put it mildly, very unfamiliar with the roots of the conflict, and as a result is incapable of bringing true solutions to the table. He can't even read maps of the region properly,” the officials added.

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