Livni: New government will isolate Israel, ramp-up BDS

Opposition blasts signing of a new coalition deal that brings the far-right Yisrael Beytenu party into the government.

May 25, 2016 14:34
2 minute read.
Tzipi Livni



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Opposition MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) on Wednesday condemned the signing of a new coalition deal that brings in the far-right Yisrael Beytenu party, saying the new government will isolate Israel from the world and give fire to the BDS movement.

"This government shares a worldview that will prevent us from moving forward," Livni charged at a conference held by the Ha'aretz newspaper at Ariel University. "A worldview that will isolate us in the world, and embolden BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] all because of a political choice."

Liberman's return to office - he was previously foreign minister - has raised questions at home and abroad given his past criticism of Israel's Arab minority, US-moderated peace talks with Palestinians and regional powers Egypt and Turkey.

"We are returning to a perception that we are a ghetto in the Middle East and the thought that everyone is against us," she added.

Livni indicated that with Liberman serving as defense minister in the new government, progress on the Israel-Palestinians conflict will be sparse.

"The political field is not empty. The Palestinians are there," she said. "They promote a state based on the '67 borders with Jerusalem as its capital and that is what is seen around the word, that we are not present with a policy that can enlist the [support of the] world."

Palestinian officials said that with Lieberman, who lives in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, back in the cabinet as defense minister prospects for reviving statehood negotiations that collapsed in 2014 had grown dimmer.

Following the signing of the agreement, Arab lawmaker Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, said, "Lieberman is a fascist, who belongs to the fascists from the 30s".

Meanwhile, Livni's party leader Isaac Herzog also criticized the formation of the new government, lamenting that it had taken a "dangerous direction" with Liberman and Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett as ministers in the cabinet.

"Israel's citizens should be concerned about the right-wing coalition that will lead to a very dangerous place," he stated.

The opposition leader, who had been in coalition talks before stalemate led to Netanyahu's quick turn to Liberman, charged that Netanyahu has become a hostage of far-right players, Liberman, Bennett and Bayit Yehudi MK Betzalel Smotrich.

Reuters contributed this report.

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