Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is deliberately putting Jerusalem at the forefront of international attention because the issue helps him win votes, Tzipi Livni Party head Tzipi Livni charged Wednesday.
Speaking to Israel Radio, Livni said "They do this every election. The Likud is exposing Jerusalem to international condemnation for electoral purposes."
Both the United States and the United Kingdom on Tuesday attacked Israel's plans to construct thousands of new Jewish apartments in east Jerusalem, calling the move a "provocation" and saying it endangered the fragile peace process.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu stressed he would continue construction in Jerusalem and called on all Zionist parties to support building in the city.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and the source of Zionism is in Zion,” he said during a visit to the Acre Hesder Yeshiva. “I cannot understand how a Zionist party can object to building in Jerusalem.”
For her part, Livni said Israel must reserve the right to build in Jerusalem, Israel's capital city. "I myself built in Jerusalem," she said, referencing her governmental experience in previous Likud- and Kadima-led coalitions. "I built in Jerusalem," she repeated, "and I will protect it in any diplomatic negotiations [with the Palestinians.]"
The difference, she added, was that her construction over the green line was undertaken in conjunction with negotiations. "When we built, there was international silence. Because we were building alongside a diplomatic effort to reach a solution," she said.
Remarking on Israel's status within the international community, Livni said: "Our biggest friends...ask me. What is going on with you? You're not helping us help you.... You're starting to look closed, isolated, and provoking to the world."
Livni also denied accusations from the Right that she had relinquished Israel's right to east Jerusalem in talks with Palestinians.
"I never talked about giving Jerusalem away," she said. "I never gave up on the Western Wall."