Livni: Netanyahu should remember US, not France, is main ally

Justice minister blasts PM for welcoming French president Hollande warmly while sparring with administration in Washington.

November 19, 2013 05:16
1 minute read.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday for welcoming French President François Hollande so warmly while sparring with the administration in Washington.

Speaking to her faction in the Knesset, Livni said Israel appreciated Paris’s determined stand in negotiations with Tehran but hinted this cannot be allowed to be interpreted as coming at the expense of the United States.

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“France’s stance came from their knowledge that a nuclear Iran is dangerous not only to Israel but to France and the world,” she said. “But we cannot forget that our strategic alliance is with the US, and even when there are disagreements, Israel must maintain that alliance.”

Livni noted that having the US as its primary ally has enabled Israel to maintain its military superiority in the region. She said advancing diplomatic talks with the Palestinians would also contribute to Israel’s security.

Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich told her Labor faction that the stalemate in the talks was “catastrophic” and said she demanded that there be a breakthrough in the negotiations.

MK Isaac Herzog, her challenger in Thursday’s Labor leadership primary, told the faction that months ago, Netanyahu downplayed the views of the French and now he was overstating their role.

“To call France the top strategic ally of Israel is wrong,” Herzog said. “We have one strong, intimate ally, and that is the United States. Netanyahu is wrong to pester [US] President [Barack Obama] and [Secretary of State] John Kerry. I hope he stops.”

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