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Netanyahu tells envoys he could stop rockets

March 14, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert briefed opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu on the security situation for the first time in a few months on Thursday, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

Relations between the two men have deteriorated since a scathing speech Netanyahu delivered to the Knesset following the Winograd Report’s publication in January and reached new heights last week amid mutual recriminations in a meeting at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Both sides described Thursday’s meeting as businesslike and cordial and said that all security and diplomatic issues were discussed.

Also on Thursday, Netanyahu briefed 20 foreign ambassadors at Tel Aviv’s Carlton hotel and told them that the situation in the western Negev was intolerable and that he could fix it. He criticized Olmert for telling Ashkelon residents to get used to living under rocket fire.

“A prime minister who says the public has to get used to rocket attacks must be replaced by a prime minister who can bring about quiet and serenity,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu also told the envoys that the negotiations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas could cause harm, because if he returned to his people empty-handed it would cause him grave political damage.

He said that all of Jerusalem must remain in Israeli hands, to prevent it from falling to Hamas and to keep it safe for people from around the world.

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