Amid fears of party split, Kadima MKs lambaste Netanyahu-Mofaz unity cabinet (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Ophir Bar-Zohar and Barak Ravid 05/11/12)
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Kadima MKs explicitly expressed their discontent following a surprise
deal that introduced the party into Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu´s coalition on Friday, with a split in the one-time
opposition faction seeming likelier than ever.
The party officials spoke at a Tel Aviv conference organized by left-
wing NGO Peace Now.
Kadima MK Shlomo Molla said that if his party "doesn´t condition its
being part of the coalition in advancing the peace process, then we
have nothing to do there."
"If that doesn´t happen we need to admit that we´re the Likud´s
useless baggage. I can certainly say that I personally won´t be
there," he said, adding: "There are bad winds blowing through Israeli
society – there´s a lot of racism, discrimination of minorities,
Molla said it was the "spirit of the radical right which joins this
entire atmosphere, offering to confront the Palestinians, to avoid
peace, and to make [Palestinians] disappear from the public eye.
Netanyahu is both running away and covering up."
Molla also referred to a meeting held earlier in the day, in which
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s top cabinet ministers – including
new Vice Prime Minister and Kadima chief Shaul Mofaz – discussed the
fate of the Ulpana Hill outpost in the West Bank.
"If Mofaz didn´t draw a red line in today´s meeting, saying that a
discussion to legitimize West Bank outposts shouldn´t even take
place, then we´re just the Likud and we were introduced to make the
Likud look better," Moll said.
The Kadima MK added: "We have nothing to do there, that should be
clear," saying that the "first test is the [outpost] regulating law.
It´s a stain on this government that there´s even a discussion of the
possibility of creating a High Court-bypassing law."
Also speaking at the conference, party member Nino Abesadze called
the newly formed coalition "[Likud MK Ze´ev] Elkin´s Bolshevik
coalition," adding that "this mad Elkin and [Likud MK Tzipi] Hotovely
camp must be stopped."
"Until now, I´ve respected the party´s rules. From now on, I don´t
feel obligated," she added.
The comments were the most explicit attack against the newly formed
unity cabinet since it was decided earlier this week, with many
speculating that several Kadima MKs could retire from the party.
Five MKs are believed to be looking for a way out of the party under
the right circumstances - Molla, Abesadze, Orit Zuaretz, Nino, Robert
Tiviaev and Majallie Whbee. Most of this group was not present when
the Knesset voted in the national unity government on Wednesday.
If they can persuade two more lawmakers to join them, they will have
the requisite seven members entitling them to funding as a separate
faction; if the number rises to nine, their faction could lead the
The five are said to be waiting for word from Livni. If she
establishes a new party, which Livni observers say is fairly likely
considering her conduct since she lost the Kadima chairmanship, the
five can be expected to join her.
The conduct of these five MKs could spark numerous crises even before
the new government deals with an alternative to the Tal Law on
widespread exemptions from military service for ultra-Orthodox men,
or with the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank
settlement of Beit El, as ordered by the High Court of Justice.
One of these MKs said: "On Sunday MK Miri Regev´s bill on annexation
of settlements is coming up for a vote. Are we supposed to vote for
it? What will be left of our principles?"
The MK added: "What if they want to raise VAT to 17 percent? I won´t
agree to that under any circumstances."
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Kadima Council and one of the party´s
founders, Haim Ramon, announced he was leaving the party. He is
expected to join Livni in founding a new party.
"Kadima is at the end of the road in terms of what it was supposed to
be - an alternative to the government," Ramon said on Thursday. Ramon
said he believed Kadima would disappear into Likud in the next
Also referring to the stalled Mideast peace process in the wake of
the new unity cabinet, would-be politician and former news anchor
Yair Lapid told a gathering in the city of Kfar Sava that the Israeli
leadership "took its most urgent problem and decided we don´t want to
mess with it since it causes inconvenience in the party."
"Everyone knows how the conflict with the Palestinians is going to
end, but we don´t know how long it will take and how much blood will
be spilled, and we´re still staying away from the negotiations
table," Lapid said, adding: "It´s irresponsible."
The former journalist added: "We need to topple this bad government."
(© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 05/11/12)
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