Netanyahu: Gov't. 'Detached from Reality'

Ad Feedback - TEL AVIV, Israel - Likud chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu called the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "detached from reality."

Speaking at the annual pre-Pesach (Passover) meeting of the party's central committee in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said Olmert's government has neither leadership nor direction.

"The government is detached from reality, security is faulty, the economy is receding, and education is collapsing due to the absence of leadership and the absence of a path," he said.

Netanyahu said the prime minister's strategy of bolstering Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas by making concessions is a flawed strategy, which has proven disastrous in the past.

"I hear that Olmert and Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] are working on a 'shelf plan' -- as if it's possible to buy peace in Abu Mazen's supermarket. In this plan, Israel pays for everything in advance and receives nothing in return," Netanyahu said.

"The mistakes of one leader cannot be fixed by a thousand generals," he said. "Barak made a mistake by leaving Lebanon [in 2000 during his tenure as prime minister], which strengthened Hezbollah. Olmert made a mistake by leaving Gaza [in 2005], which strengthened Hamas. They both created new Muslim fundamentalist strongholds," he said.

"Some 8,000 missiles and rockets have been showered on top of Israelis' heads from these two bases. In the north and in the south, our enemies are arming themselves with lethal Iranian weapons," he said.

"Likud is a party of peace. It has made peace and will make peace, but the greatest mistake in diplomacy is giving in to dreams and being detached from reality," he said.

"We have a government that escapes responsibility and sometimes it seems it is only cynically engaged in political survival. I believe that the State can be led differently, in a successful way. But this way compels us to look straight into reality and tell the people the truth," he said.

"We all know the truth -- the IDF leaves, Hamas enters," he said.

Netanyahu also called on the ultra-Orthodox Shas party to leave the coalition.

Addressing Shas chairman Eli Yishai, Netanyahu asked, "Until when will you sit in the government? Until we return to the 1967 borders? Until a Palestinian flag flies on the Temple Mount? Leave the government and stop the evil decree," he said.

In opinion polls, Netanyahu has maintained a consistent lead to win the premiership in the next general elections.

Sources: YNet news, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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