Netanyahu: Likud Also Wants Peace

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Likud party chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said his party is also interested in "peace and security."

"The common denominator for all Likud members is the desire for peace and security," Netanyahu said at a partisan rally in Tel Aviv Sunday evening.

"Instead of running from terrorism, we will fight it. And alongside this, we will hold negotiations based on realism, while maintaining our interests," he said.

Member of Knesset Benny Begin, who recently rejoined the Likud party, summarized what's taken place over the past 15 years.

"At first there are sky-high hopes and the warning signs are ignored," Begin said. "Then it becomes apparent that they have no idea how to calculate risks," he said.

"And that is what happened after the Oslo Accords and the disengagement ," Begin said.

Meanwhile, Likud party faction chairman MK Gideon Sa'ar said the nation will have a clear choice in the upcoming elections between a "rejuvenated Likud and Kadima's failed path of unilateral withdrawals and concessions that have brought rockets on northern and southern Israel."

"There is no difference between Olmert and Livni," Sa'ar said. "They are like Siamese twins in this respect," he said.

Meanwhile, at a separate event sponsored by the Jewish Agency's General Assembly on Sunday, Netanyahu talked of boosting the Palestinian economy, a vision shared by E.U. envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair.

"We need to make peace from the bottom up rather than the top down, by improving the lives of Palestinians so they have a stake in peace," Netanyahu told conference participants.

But senior Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat rejected Netanyahu's vision.

"The time to speak about economics and fragmentation is over," Erekat said. "It seems to me that if Mr. Netanyahu thinks this is the course, he is closing the door to any chance for peace," he said,

Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post

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