Ministers Demand Debate of Liberman Plan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister of Yerushalayim Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud), one of four ministers opposing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s new policy on the Palestinians. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Minister of Yerushalayim Affairs Zeev Elkin (Likud), one of four ministers opposing Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s new policy on the Palestinians. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

Opposition to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s “carrot and stick” policy for dealing with the Palestinians emerged within the government coalition on Sunday, as ministers from Likud and Jewish Home said they would fight the plan, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, four ministers— Uri Ariel and Ayelet Shaked from Jewish Home, and Yariv Levin and Zeev Elkin from Likud—charged that authorizing new construction in Palestinian areas of Yehudah and Shomron, while freezing building of Jewish communities in the region, was a breach of coalition guidelines.

“A nationalist government cannot freeze new construction in the capital Yerushalayim, Yehudah and Shomron with one hand and authorize extensive construction in the Palestinian Authority [with the other],” the letter stated.

The ministers demanded that the matter be debated in the cabinet before Liberman’s proposals were implemented, and that in lieu of debate they would do all possible to block the plan.

Initially, Liberman’s plan for economically rewarding Palestinian population areas which do not contribute to terrorism was opposed by some leaders in Yehudah and Shomron when it was unveiled last week, but ministers did not come out against it until later.

As of Sunday evening, the ministers had received no reply from Netanyahu or Liberman on the matter.