Yair Altman
November 29, 2010 - 1:00am

As talks between Israel and the United States on a new settlement construction freeze continue, the Likud party's hawkish camp clarified Monday that it was not going to make life easy for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Some 200 Central Committee members and heads of the party's offices across the country took part in the conference at the Knesset, calling on the prime minister not to resume the building freeze.

The conference's initiator, Knesset Member Danny Danon, said that a freeze was against the Likud's values and that Netanyahu must respect this. "No one wants to bring down the prime minister and have (Opposition Chairwoman) Tzipi Livni rise to power, but on the other hand we won't let the prime minister do what he fancies," he said.

During Monday's faction meeting, Danon asked Netanyahu whether the freeze issue was off the agenda and received a negative answer.

Before the conference, the party activists met with Likud ministers and MKs and tried to convince them to oppose a renewed freeze. Fourteen lawmakers signed a letter calling on the prime minister not to resume the settlement freeze.

MK Tizpi Hotovely stated that the freeze was a "smoke screen" aimed at blurring the main thing – a discussion on a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

"I fear that today's discussion is a decisive point in terms of the movement's values and the Likud's future. There are red lines the movement has set, and once they are crossed – the Likud turns into the Kadima or Labor parties."

Diplomatic sources said Saturday that the talks with the US on a memo of understandings which would allow a resumed building freeze had reached a deadlock. Therefore, the prime minister has yet to convene his cabinet to approve the three-month settlement freeze requested by the American administration.


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