x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Israeli settlers' champion is against two-state deal

Danny Danon, elected yesterday as head of Likud's central committee, is one of the Israeli ruling party's most outspoken opponents of a Palestinian state and a champion of the settlement movement.

JERUSALEM // Danny Danon, elected yesterday as head of Likud's central committee, is one of the Israeli ruling party's most outspoken opponents of a Palestinian state and a champion of the settlement movement.

His victory gives him control of the 3,600-member main institution of Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling right-wing party, propelling him into a position to take over Likud after the premier.

Born in the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan in 1971, Mr Danon served as the global head of Betar, the international Zionist youth movement, which enabled Mr Danon to make himself known in Likud circles and helped him win a seat in the Knesset in 2009.

Mr Danon faced off against Mr Netanyahu in the 2007 contest for the Likud helm, and has since positioned himself as a symbol of the internal opposition to the prime minister. He took fifth place in the Likud primaries and was named deputy defence minister in the new government formed by Netanyahu at the beginning of 2013.

Conservative and close to the settler lobby, Mr Danon claims to be the true voice of Likud voters who are disappointed by the direction Mr Netanyahu has taken, particularly on the Palestinian issue.

Mr Danon is opposed to making any territorial concessions in the West Bank and said recently in an interview that there was "no majority for a two-state solution" within the Likud.