Tzipi Livni at ICT conference.
(photo credit: KFIR BOLOTIN)
Knesset members from across the political spectrum raced to release statements to the media responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s United Nations speech, but the two politicians whose reactions matter most politically – Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid – remained silent Tuesday.
Former Meretz leader Yossi Beilin, who initiated the Oslo peace process when he was deputy foreign minister, said Livni should ask herself why she was still in the cabinet following a speech in which Netanyahu did not set new diplomatic policies.
MKs on the Left called on both Livni and Lapid to remove their parties from the prime minister’s coalition. Sources close to both party leaders declined to respond. But Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) defended them.
“The calls from the Left for a diplomatic plan have become repeated like mantras over and over again to the point that they have become idol worship,” Erdan said. “Diplomatic plans are required when there is a partner on the other side to cooperate in implementing them. Now there is clearly not.”
Sources on the Left speculated that Livni and Lapid would wait to see whether any diplomatic developments came out of Netanyahu’s meeting Wednesday with US president Barack Obama before responding to the UN speech.
But Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said she did not expect anything to change on the Palestinian front at the Netanyahu- Obama meeting.
“Netanyahu is not going to announce that he is withdrawing from territory now after he has not said that for six years,” Hotovely said.
Hundreds of Israelis signed a petition calling on Netanyahu and Obama to announce a regional peace conference at their meeting Wednesday. The signatories included Nobel peace prize winners and residents of the Gaza periphery.
Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren said he was disappointed that Netanyahu had not used the UN speech to announce a bold diplomatic initiative. He said Netanyahu should have explained Israel’s interests regarding borders and security.
Asked whether he was considering entering politics, Oren said he expected to continue to serve in various capacities.