(April 8, 2019 / Israel Hayom) Between his many interviews with the media ahead of Tuesday’s elections, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found 15 minutes on Sunday to meet with heads of local councils from Judea and Samaria from the Likud Party.
Those present at the brief meeting described Netanyahu as “fresh, focused and prepared for battle.”
“Netanyahu says he is worried. Is this a tactic or reality? Probably both,” one attendee posited.
In the meeting, the prime minister reiterated the mantras that he has recited these past weeks. “I was in this situation in 1999 [when Ehud Barak’s Labor Party defeated Likud at the ballot box]. Now, I recognize a similar problem. If we don’t change the trend, we are going to lose,” he warned.
“President [Reuven] Rivlin said that if there aren’t 61 recommendations, then the largest party wins and forms a government. We don’t have 61. [Zehut Party leader Moshe] Feiglin refuses to commit. In a situation in which there is no bloc, then [Blue and White Party heads Yair] Lapid and [Benny] Gantz are the biggest party. That is according to the polls in the media, and that is according to our polling.”
Likud Knesset member Yoav Kisch, who organized the meeting with the regional council heads, told Israel Hayom that “Netanyahu is at war. There is a big illusion. They’re talking about a right-wing bloc, but there is no such bloc.”
‘Annexation would destroy negotiations’
Meanwhile, the Arab world reacted with anger to Netanyahu’s remarks in an interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night, in which the prime minister said he would not rule out the possibility of annexing Judea and Samaria in the future.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi blasted Netanyahu’s remarks as “dangerous,” saying they threatened to “undermine regional stability.”
“The problem is that there is occupation,” he said. “If our conditions are not met, we will find ourselves facing a new escalation.”
The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah also condemned Netanyahu’s remarks. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat accused Netanyahu of “destroying any future chance of returning to negotiations and a peaceful resolution [to the conflict]. We will turn to the International [Criminal] Court in The Hague,” he said.