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Robert Ilyatov, MK for Israel Beitienu.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.


By Rhonda Spivak, November 1, 2010

Knesset Member Robert Ilatov of the Israel Beitenu party said this past spring while in Winnipeg that  “The American government is trying to pressure Israel into agreeing to the policies of the previous [Kadima led] Israeli government, but it will have to …understand that the Israeli people had a democratic election, and elected a different government.” 

“We expect other countries [such as the United States] to support the decision of our democratically elected new government” and thanked Canada, “for being one of our closest friends today.”

In an interview, Ilatov said  that “ the Annapolis process which the previous Kadima led government was agreed to was not one which  had been ratified by the Israeli Knesset….We [Israel Beitenu]  left the [ previous Kadima led] government because we didn’t agree with Annapolis and it’s because of this that Israel went to elections and  elected a different government….we now ask Obama  to recognize that the people of Israel voted against the declaration made at Annapolis [ which enables the sides to leap ahead to final status issues to reach  a two-state solution].”

Ilatov, a second-time Knesset member, who lives in Netanya and chairs the Economic Affairs Committee, added “Even though we [Israel Beitenu] voted against the Road Map, we are committed to it because it was ratified by the Israeli government…Israel has proven that when we sign a deal, we’ve stood by it.”

“Everyone knows that if Israel left the West Bank it would become a Hamas state” Ilatov told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, indicating that he didn’t foresee any progress on peace negotiations until the Palestinians “accept a Jewish state and start to  fight terror.” He said currently he didn’t think “there is a [Palestinian] partner.”

Ilatov  referred to Israel Beitenu “is a pragmatic party” and has recognized the concept “of two states for two peoples,”  but has also called for “transferring heavily Arab  populated villages of pre-67  Israel” [such as Um al Fahm]  to a future Palestinian state, in exchange for Israel retaining Jewish populated areas in Judea and Samaria.

As for Iran, Ilatov said that “Israel can strike Iran militarily, [but] the question would be “what would be afterward”.  He said “Iran is not just a problem for Israel, but for [others in] the Moslem world…We’ve seen Iran is a problem for Egypt…The fact that it has developed missiles that can reach 5000 kilometers means it can reach Moscow, Rome, Spain…It’s purpose is to take over the world with radical Islam…We have a strategic dialogue with the United states and it’s clear that any kind of proposed military action would have to be considered at that level.”

When asked what he thought about the fact that U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is setting up an office in East Jerusalem,  and would no doubt monitor any new settlement development in the West Bank, Ilatov responded, “ If  George Mitchell is going to investigate what we are doing in the West Bank, he should also start looking into how the Egyptians treat the Coptic Christians, how the Saudis treat women…There shouldn’t be a double standard applied only against Israel when it comes to civil rights…”

On the subject of Kadima’s Tzipi Livni, Ilatov said “She is not a good politician.  She has made two bad mistakes.” First, Livni should have compromised and made a deal with the Shas party and then she would have been able to form a government [after she replaced Olmert].  “She could have been in power for a year and a half before she went to elections…”said Ilatov.

Secondly in Ilatov’s view Livni  ought to have agreed to have Kadima come into a government with Israel Beitenu and Likud.  “This would have forced Netanyahu to have to violate his agreement with  the [Ultra-Orthodox]  Shas party, and form a  centre coalition….The reason Livni didn’t do this was because of her ego…She wanted to have a rotation  of the Prime Minister…she wanted to be Prime Minister…”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.