livni at rabbinical assembly 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni turned down Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s call on
Thursday to respond to the Fatah-Hamas coalition being formed by the
Palestinians with a national-unity government in Israel.
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In an interview
on Thursday with Israel Radio, Barak said that “if a technocratic government is
established in the Palestinian Authority, we should consider cooperating here
But Livni said there would be no unity government in Israel unless
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policies changed dramatically.
is not about being against something or someone, it means being for something,”
she told the Foreign Press Association.
“The fact that the Palestinians
are unifying does not mean we should form a government just for the sake of
having a unity government. My decisions about whether to enter a unity
government is always determined by policies and whether the government will
pursue peace, and nothing has changed in Israel.”
Livni denounced Hamas
and expressed hope that the Palestinian unity government would agree to return
“Hamas is a terrorist organization that represents an
extremist ideology that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist or previous
agreements with Israel,” she said. “Any Palestinian government will have to
accept these conditions of the Quartet and work for peace with Israel. This is
the time for Israel and the PA to make decisions; it will be a
Livni’s Kadima rival, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense
Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz, said Israel needed to talk to any Palestinian
government that would accept the conditions of the Quartet, even if it included
Hamas. He called Netanyahu’s immediate rejection of Palestinian unity “too fast,
too panicky and too irresponsible.”
Mofaz said Israel would need to
continue targeting Hamas leaders if rocket attacks continued from the Gaza Strip
but that PA President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah would also bear responsibility for
rocket attacks from Gaza.
Kadima MK Nachman Shai described the
Hamas-Fatah agreement as the prime minister’s “great failure.”
failed to understand the strategic changes in the Arab world and their
implications for the Palestinians. The unity between Hamas and Fatah
produces a new political and security reality that surprises Israel and forces
it to present a new political program that is not under the control of the prime
minister. The result is that the road to international recognition of a
unilaterally declared Palestinian state is open,” Shai said in a
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) complained that Netanyahu “turns
every opportunity into a threat.”
Gal-On said that the alliance between
Fatah and Hamas had provided Netanyahu with “a new excuse” not to meet with the
“Instead of taking advantage of the growing closeness
between Fatah and Hamas as an opportunity to hold negotiations toward two states
for two peoples, and not three states for two peoples, instead of saying ‘yes’
to the initiative for UN recognition [of a Palestinian state], Netanyahu
continues with diplomatic refusals that will isolate Israel internationally,”
Meanwhile, right-wing legislators and ministers alike
pushed for a practical Israeli response that would penalize the PA for its
alliance with an organization that refuses to recognize Israel.
“the Palestinian Authority chose a strategy of terrorism and unilateralism,
Israel, too, must present an initiative: to assert Israeli authority throughout
the entire Land of Israel and put an end to the idea of a Palestinian state,”
Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said.
MK Miri Regev
(Likud) called for an urgent meeting of the joint Knesset committee for the
security budget, in order to end the transfer of billions of shekels of tax
revenues from Israel to the PA.
Regev said that had Israel remitted
approximately NIS 5 billion over the past year, and that “it is not right for
Israel to transfer funds every month to the authority, which deals in terrorism
and incitement against Israel and against innocent civilians.”Jerusalem
Post staff contributed to this report.