Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will face a massive campaign pressuring her to leave Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition if talks between Israel and the Palestinians do not continue beyond this week, officials on the Left warned Sunday.
Livni returned to politics in order to try to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Her party was the first to join Netanyahu’s government after he agreed to let her lead the negotiations.
“If there is no fourth round of prisoner releases and the talks break down, the purpose of her remaining in the government is gone,” Peace Now Director- General Yariv Oppenheimer said. "If the peace process will collapse and she doesn’t use her political power to leave the coalition, there will be a public campaign against her with demonstrations, ads and pressure. If she leaves, then Yesh Atid will have to leave too.”
Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On called upon Netanyahu to make “courageous decisions.”
She said Israel could not abrogate a commitment Israel had made to the United States to release the 26 prisoners in the final round.
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz of Hatnua defended his party’s presence in the coalition but said he would prefer to have a settlement freeze instead of prisoner releases.
There were also threats on the Right end of the political spectrum but they were purposely limited. Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel said he would recommend that his Bayit Yehudi party leave the coalition if Israel agreed to release 400 additional prisoners just to keep the Palestinians at the negotiating table.
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett said such a concession to the Palestinians “will not happen.” But he made a point of not threatening to leave the coalition if the 26 prisoners in the fourth round are released as planned, even if they include Israeli Arabs.
Likud ministers talked tough against releasing more prisoners but stopped short of threatening to quit their posts.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan warned that the “negotiations monster” would keep asking for more prisoners and concessions if Israel did not set red lines.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz complained the Palestinians were using a “salami approach” to make Israel surrender its security.
He posted a picture of late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin with a red target on him on his Facebook page.
“The place of murderers of Jews is in the targets we are aiming at, or at least in jail,” Katz said.
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