Livni blames PM for constraints in Gaza response

Opposition leader says during speech to young political activists at TA bar that gov’t is "isolating Israel."

March 13, 2012 06:25
1 minute read.
Tzippi Livni

Tzippi Livni 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Israel would be able to respond with more force against this week’s rocket fire from the Gaza Strip had Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu advanced a diplomatic process with the Palestinians, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said in a speech to young political activists at a Tel Aviv bar Monday night.

The event was organized by Mitpakdim, a new organization that encourages young people to become more politically active by entering current political parties and influencing their future from within. Livni told the activists that it was time to realize that all of Israel is in the range of missiles and more had to be done to prevent Israelis from being harmed.

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“The current government is isolating Israel and harming our ability to defend ourselves,” she said. “I am in favor of hitting Hamas and fighting the extremists but we also need to be negotiating with pragmatists.”

Livni downplayed the threat Israel is facing from Iran. She said that when she was interviewed at a women’s conference in New York over the weekend, she disliked being asked how she felt about the Jewish people again being on the verge of destruction.

“I told him no we are not,” she said. “But then I remembered he was merely quoting a speech by the prime minister of Israel a few days before.”

Despite her difference with Netanyahu, when asked what coalition she would form if elected prime minister, she responded that she would include Likud but not haredi parties.

“I would form a coalition with the Zionist parties,” she said. “The Likud could be a partner as long as they don’t bring their friends.”

Livni blamed the disproportionate power that she said haredim have on “weak politicians in Zionist parties who gave it to them.” She defended her decision not to enter Netanyahu’s government.

“Abroad they see my decision to go to the opposition as courageous unlike some members of my party.”

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