Kadima leadership candidate Shaul Mofaz attacked his main competition in the September 17 primary on Sunday, accusing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of dividing Jerusalem.
Mofaz said he heard that Livni had made concessions on Jerusalem in the negotiations that she leads with the Palestinians. He said this was unacceptable and goes against what the majority of the public and Kadima members believe.
"I want to tell Tzipi that if she is negotiating the division of Jerusalem, she needs to admit it to the public," Mofaz said during a meeting at his office in the capital with Moshav Movement leaders in Kadima who support him. "The Kadima platform says that Jerusalem will remain Israel's undivided capital; if any minister in Kadima thinks differently, they must admit it."
Asked by The Jerusalem Post
whether Livni must reveal every concession she has made to the Palestinians since talks were renewed with them at the Annapolis conference in November 2007, Mofaz said, "I recommend that Livni reveal all the results that there have been in the negotiations." He reiterated that the foreign minister must tell the public if she is in favor of dividing the capital.
Livni's campaign responded that she heard similar accusations about dividing Jerusalem from Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu against Labor chairman Ehud Barak and said it was no coincidence that Mofaz now employed Netanyahu's former strategist, Arthur Finkelstein of the US.
"Such slogans have no connection to reality and it is embarrassing to see Mofaz recycle them again," a source close to Livni said. "Livni has not diverted by a millimeter from the decisions of the government or the platform of Kadima, which she herself wrote and which was approved by the Kadima faction in its first meeting. Mofaz was still in the Likud at the time, but we hope he read the platform when he decided to join the party."
Sources close to Livni said the reason her understandings with the Palestinians could not be revealed was that it would up the demands of the other side. They said she regularly updated Mofaz about her negotiations until the primary race began, and he never protested against anything she told him.
Mofaz's campaign called Livni's response "nice spin," but said the public had a right to know whether she would agree to sign on to a statement saying she was not negotiating a division of Jerusalem and that the capital would remain undivided.
Netanyahu, who has made a point of not interfering in the Kadima race, unwittingly aided Mofaz against Livni when he told Army Radio on Sunday that he "hasn't heard the Kadima candidates speak about not dividing Jerusalem."
Netanyahu's spokesman said the Likud leader had no idea that Mofaz had made such a statement two hours earlier and had attacked Livni on the issue.
Barak, who was hurt politically when he criticized Livni recently, made a point of being more objective on the Kadima race in an interview on Sunday evening with Channel 2. "All the candidates are good people and are worthy of respect," he said.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!