sharon cabinet 298 88 .
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Justice Minister and Sharon ally Tzipi Livni outlined the proposed platform of the new Kadima Party Monday afternoon, emphasizing the nature of Israel as a democratic Jewish state and the need to continue along the road map peace plan.
Outlining the party's diplomatic stance, Livni focused mainly on the roadmap plan. She alluded to the need for a Palestinian state, although she did not state her intentions specifically.
The document from which Livni read contained statements referring to the creation of a disarmed, terror-free Palestinian state as well as the preservation of settlement blocs, Army Radio reported.
Livni discussed the stalled road map, as Israel waits for the Palestinians to fulfill their commitment to combat terror and violence.
She also emphasized the need for maintaining a Jewish democratic state with Jerusalem serving as the undivided capital.
Kadima's stress on the first stage of the roadmap plan is significant, since the contingency of removing outposts was agreed upon only by Israel, mostly due to Netanyahu's insistence. He then abstained from the vote.
"We're not ruling anyone out of partnering with us in the future," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Monday as he opened the first Kadima faction meeting at the Knesset.
Sharon denied a report in the Ma'ariv daily claiming that he would not serve in a government with his rival, MK Binyamin Netanyahu. "Don't pay attention to anyone who says otherwise," he stressed.
Former coalition whip Likud MK Gideon Sa'ar criticized Kadima's charter, and attested that Sharon was leading Israel "backwards" to its 1967 borders.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai blasted Kadima's platform and said, "It's unfortunate that parties think that diplomatic positions are their weathervane, and change the party's course according to what's diplomatically fashionable."
The faction meeting was held on the government floor of the Knesset, as opposed to the fifth floor where factions usually meet; there was no room left for Kadima on the factions' floor. Because the Knesset's new wing is still under construction, security concerns prevented the group from meeting there.
Not all of the 17 Kadima members participated in the faction meeting. Among those who did not attend were Michael Nudelman, Haim Ramon, and Ehud Olmert. Meir Sheetrit arrived late.
The meeting dealt mostly with the logistics of creating a new party.
Avigdor Yitzhaki, campaign chairman and former PMO Director-General, informed members that Kadima was hiring a call center to allow people to register to the party. The new faction has also begun working on a Website, he said. It was acquired on Sunday from a man from Atlanta who had already bought the URL.