Livni to PM: Only diplomacy can prevent PA UN bid

Netanyahu meets with opposition head for first time since April; Livni: Lack of diplomatic process has harmed Israel's defense abilities.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 29, 2011 16:29
1 minute read.
Livni and Netanyahu [file]

livni netanyahu check caption 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with opposition leader Tzipi Livni at his Jerusalem office on Monday afternoon and updated her about security matters and preparations for the upcoming United Nations General Assembly vote on the creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu and Livni also discussed recent diplomatic and security-related developments, and the raised tensions along the country’s southern border with the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

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But they apparently did not discuss any potential future political cooperation.

It was the first meeting between the two adversaries since April, even though the prime minister is legally required to brief the leader of the opposition every month.

The Prime Minister’s Office released a statement after the meeting describing the atmosphere as pleasant and professional. But Livni’s spokesman released a statement indicating that she criticized him in the meeting.

“Only a diplomatic process can prevent [the Palestinian statehood bid in] September and also enable Israel to fight terror,” Livni told Netanyahu according to her spokesman.

“The lack of a diplomatic process has harmed Israel and its ability to defend itself.”



After the meeting, MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) criticized his party leader, saying, “Statehood and security are a complicated and unified subject, which we as the opposition cannot oppose, and, out of national responsibility, must address as a unified government.”

Livni has recently attacked Netanyahu’s government on its policies, slamming its handling of the Palestinian Authority’s plan to seek recognition of statehood in the UN, and criticizing its response to rocket-fire from Gaza.

The opposition leader has said the current policy being employed is “weakening Israel.”

“Rather than negotiate with moderate Palestinian leaders and fight Hamas, Netanyahu is ignoring the moderates and negotiating [cease-fires] with Hamas,” Livni said last week.

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