The local news outlets are focusing on the “moderate” voters who will flee Likud due to the “Lieberman threat,” but they are forgetting the party’s rightist bloc, which has an old score to settle with Netanyahu. Here is a partial list: “Two states for two people,” the essence of the Left’s doctrine; the freezing of settlement construction for 10 months and a willingness to extend the freeze in exchange for Palestinian recognition of a “Jewish state” and to permanently halt construction following negotiations; a partial construction freeze in Jerusalem and in all of Judea and Samaria‘s Jewish communities, which is still in effect; a willingness to launch negotiations on the Golan Heights; a cold and distant attitude towards settlers who have not been “legalized” by the Left – meaning those who live outside the “settlement blocs”; and, worst of all, the handing over of the settlement enterprise – with its 370,000 people and 250 communities – to Defense Minister Barak, who is using the Civil Administration to abuse the settlers and violate their property rights. Therefore, the prime minister is responsible for the fact that hundreds of thousands of his subjects have become second-class citizens. Netanyahu knew what Barak’s approach vis-à-vis the settlers was, so by handing them over to the defense minister’s absolute rule, he essentially threw them under the bus. Construction in many West Bank communities is restricted because Barak is refusing to approve city construction plans, and some communities have become “illegal” only because of this refusal. “Beit HaShalom” in Hebron was purchased for a million dollars, but 16 families were evicted from the premises for no reason at all – as a court ruling issued years later determined. The purchase of Beit HaMachpela was found to be legal, but its dwellers were still evicted because Barak refused to certify the purchase. And there is also Migron, Ulpana and Beit-El, the university in Ariel and the brutal evacuations of women and children, which are accompanied by the sadistic razing of homes and property. Lieberman bears some of the responsibility for these injustices, and he also approved the “two states” formula. Therefore, merging Likud with his Yisrael Beiteinu party does not erase Netanyahu’s negative track record.
Rightist voters will also consider Netanyahu’s attitude towards the Levy Report, drafted by three prominent judges seeking to end the legal injustices against Jews in their own land. The prime minister continues to ignore the report, which determined that Israel is not an occupying force in Judea and Samaria.
Likud’s refusal to accept this historic decree will not be forgiven and it will not be forgotten – not to mention the party’s complete disregard for the report’s practical recommendations, which call for the annulment of some of the draconian measures that limit Jewish settlement in the West Bank. The Levy Report alone may cost Likud-Beiteinu a few Knesset seats.