Israel's National Religious Party Hardens Threat to Quit over Summit

Published June 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Head of the right-wing Israeli settlers' party hardened Wednesday a threat to quit Prime Minister Ehud Barak's coalition government over a planned summit with the Palestinians, calling a deal in preparation disastrous for Israel, reported the Jerusalem Post newspaper. 

"As soon as the summit is announced we will no longer be in the government," Housing Minister Yitzhak Levy of the National Religious Party (NRP) warned on public radio. 

"The agreement being hatched is disastrous for Israel. In no way can we be associated with this peace process, it is hard and shocking." 

Levy was speaking the day after Barak, who favors the proposed US-sponsored summit, briefed leaders of the parties in his patchwork coalition on the progress of negotiations with the Palestinians, said the paper. 

On Tuesday, he had warned that the NRP would quit if the summit took place with no coordination within the coalition and if there were no satisfactory answers from Barak. 

The NRP represents the some 200,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, who are bitterly hostile to Israel handing over large tracts of occupied land to the Palestinians, said the paper. 

Several thousand settlers protested late Tuesday outside the Jerusalem hotel where US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is staying on a brief visit to assess the viability of a summit, according to the paper – Albawaba.com  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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