Sharon expected to beat Netanyahu in Likud Party primaries
Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a final effort Wednesday to garner support ahead of Thursday's hawkish Likud Party primaries.
Polls published 24 hours before the opening of the polls gave Sharon a commanding lead varying between 20 and 27 percent over his rival.
At a speech on Wednesday, Netanyahu attacked the surveys which have predicted his defeat.
"In the last few weeks Likud members have been flooded with surveys telling them everything whom to vote for, and whom not to vote for," Netanyahu said. "I've known my supporters for many years, and know they will come to vote because they want to decide the future for the state and the Likud."
Meanwhile, Sharon insisted he would accept a truncated Palestinian state. Netanyahu opposes creation of a Palestinian state under any circumstances. Netanyahu said Sharon was too soft on the Palestinians and offering them too many concessions.
Sharon told the Yediot Ahronot and Maariv dailies Wednesday that he envisioned a demilitarized Palestinian state, policed by a lightly armed police force, with its airspace and borders controlled by Israel.
He rejected criticism that he was restraining the military from taking tougher action against Palestinians and that he was giving too many concessions to the Palestinians by supporting an independent state.
Thursday's primary will be the single largest party primary in Israel's history. Some 305,000 Likud members are eligible to participate in the balloting. A total of 678 ballot boxes were set up at 152 locations around the country. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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