PM and Livni.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu threatened to fire chief negotiator Tzipi Livni after she met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London last week behind Netanayhu's back, official sources told Ben Caspit of Ma'ariv.
According to the report, Netanyahu swore to fire Livni for her insubordination, but Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid warned the prime minister that sacking Livni would be a major political mistake that would bring about the dissolution of the government, and prompted Netanyahu to reconsider.
Netanyahu was not involved in the planning of the meeting, but found out through independent channels only after it was arranged, Ma'ariv reported.
The prime minister had been on a flight back to Israel from his official visit to Japan, and found out about the get-together after he landed.
Witnesses were quoted by Ma'ariv as saying that they "had never seen Bibi so furious."
When Netanyahu demanded an explanation from Livni, she allegedly said that she meant to notify him ahead of time, but because of the time difference between London and Japan, she didn't get the chance.
Although Netanyahu allegedly forbade her to hold the meeting, which was the first time Israeli and Palestinian officials met since the end of peace talks on April 29, she went ahead with her plans, much to the dismay of the prime minister and other government ministers.
Following the Saturday meeting, right-wing Israeli politicians blasted Livni.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) told Channel 2 that Israel’s policy with respect to suspending the talks was clear, and he imagined this was a private meeting she held because she was in London.
Liberman explained the frozen negotiations did not mean there were no other options, and he had presented an alternative plan to Netanyahu and to Kerry. He said Abbas was not a partner for peace.
Bayit Yehudi leader and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s attack on Livni took a more personal tone as he called on her to leave the coalition.
“Tzipi Livni has lost touch with the Israeli voter a long time ago. But with her last meeting she showed that she is like a satellite lost in orbit, with no connection to the planet Earth,” Bennett said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.