Tzipi Livni speaks with Labor head Isaac Herzog in the Knesset.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Labor-Hatnua campaign on Saturday quickly jumped on a report that US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was stalling Palestinian moves at the UN on the advice of MK Tzipi Livni and former president Shimon Peres, saying that was the reason Israel dodged that particular bullet at this time.
According to a report on the Foreign Policy website on Friday, Kerry told EU ambassadors in Washington the US would not now allow passage of any UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East.
The US made clear Thursday it would not support a Jordanian proposal, backed by the Palestinians and the UN’s Arab group, calling for a peace accord based on an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines within a year and a full withdrawal by the end of 2017.
Another resolution, this one led by France, is under discussion, calling for a negotiated solution within two years.
According to the Foreign Policy report, Kerry cautioned that any action by the UN Security Council would strengthen the hands of Israeli hard liners. He reportedly left open the possibility that Washington might ultimately support a Security Council resolution that didn’t prejudge the outcome of Israeli- Palestinian negotiations.
One European diplomat was quoted as saying that Kerry “has been very, very clear that for the United States it was not an option to discuss whatever text before the end of the Israeli election.”
Kerry, according to the report, said UN action now would “give more impetus to more right-wing parties, that there was a risk this could further embolden the more right-wing forces along the Israeli political spectrum.”
Kerry has said a number of times over the last few weeks that Washington would in no way interfere in the Israeli elections.
Following the report on the Foreign Policy website, the Labor-Hatnua campaign touted their “consistent position in opposition to any Palestinian attempt to impose on Israel a new set of circumstances unilaterally.”
“Livni is proud that she has succeeded in protecting Israel’s vital interests in the Security Council,” the statement read.
“It is possible to protect Israel’s security interests with proper diplomatic policies, something that could happen only if [Labor chief Isaac] Herzog and Livni will form the next government,” it said.
“Herzog and Livni will continue to act and wield their influence on the international stage in order to advance the State of Israel’s security and diplomatic interests.”
One government official pointed out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Rome on Monday with Kerry and raised Israel’s opposition to the UN moves in an unequivocal way.
“People should be careful about what they take credit for,” he said.
A Likud spokesman said Livni’s words prove that all she and Herzog want is “to get rid of Netanyahu, who stands as a strong wall facing the dictates and pressures from the Palestinians, so that they can retreat dangerously and completely surrender to international pressure.
“Whoever wants to prevent the formation of a second ‘Hamastan’ at the heart of Israel, must vote Likud,” he added. “Only a broad and strong Likud government led by Netanyahu will stand up for Israel’s security interests and will not give in to pressure.”
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett accused Livni of diplomatic sabotage.
“She went behind the back of the government, ordered actions that will harm Israel, all just to hurt Bibi-Bennett,” he said. “With all due respect, Livni’s priorities are not the interests of the country, and asking for attacks on the country with a certain timing is crossing a redline.”
Livni’s Israel, Bennett said, would be apologetic and run according to political interests.
“I expect opposition leader Buji Herzog,” Bennett began, calling him the nickname Herzog has asked people to no longer use, “whose honesty I respect, to call Livni to order, as in recent days she has abandoned any hint of statesmanship and is creating an atmosphere of incitement and anarchy, which endangers this election.”
Jerusalem Post staff has contributed to this report.