Livni: It's stupid to think a weak Obama helps Israel

Kadima leader slams PM's peace talks strategy and those who hoped for Democrats' defeat in US elections after he gives speech to Knesset.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 3, 2010 18:20
3 minute read.
Kadima head Tzipi Livni.

Livni 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Wednesday delivered a speech full of barbed criticisms both of the Netanyahu government's conduct in peace negotiations and the reactions among many media commentators and Israeli political figures that the Democrats' recent electoral loss was good for Israel.

"For those of you who believe that the loss of Obama is good for Netanyahu, I ask myself have you all gone crazy??" Livni said rhetorically, making reference to the results of the previous day's midterm elections in the US.

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"If Congressmen were elected who support Israel, this is good for Israel. He who says that a weak US or a weak American president is good for Israel is not just speaking stupidly, they are encouraging something that endangers Israel itsel," Livni added.

Earlier during the Knesset session, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment towards ensuring the success of peace talks, but expressed his reservations regarding whether the Palestinian side was similarly interested.

"I know that we (the Israeli government) wish for progress and that we will take actions [to help it succeed],  I know the US also shares this desire and will take actions as well to ensure the continuation of negotiations," Netanyahu stated. "I hope that the Palestinian Authority also has this desire and will show its willingness to take actions to ensure the talks' success."



Netanyahu also announced during his speech that he will travel to the US next week to meet at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations in North America and took care to emphasize the importance of ties with Jews in the Diaspora, particularly with a younger generation of Diaspora Jews. The prime minister specifically mentioned the programs of Taglit and Nefesh B'Nefesh as successfully strengthening  Jewish identity in the Diaspora and non-Israeli Jews ties to the Jewish State, "not just on the political level but on the most basic level of identity." 



The prime minister delivered his speech at a Wednesday Knesset hearing held to discuss Israel's current standing in the world.

'Do you want Thomas Friedman running Israel?'

MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) preceded the prime minister with a speech slamming Kadima's recent criticism of the governing coalition's policies and claims that it was isolating the state from other members of the international community.

"The existence of Israel's international isolation, if it exists, is due to a campaign conducted by outside groups against the State of Israel,"Elkin said.

He continued his speech directly addressing the Kadima members in the chamber. "We have reached a state of affairs where, Kadima, even Labor is telling you not move too far to the left, not to join the radical left."

"You are in effect suggesting that the person who should lead Israel is Tom Friedman from The New York Times. That whatever this Friedman from The New York Times says, we should do."

MK Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) spoke at the beginning of the Knesset session with criticism of the  Netanyahu's government's approach to peace negotiations with the the Palestinians. The coalition should not expect Kadima support unless their is a breakthrough in peace talks, Boim declared.

"We cannot reach agreement without a significant breakthrough [in peace negotiations]," Boim said.

He went on to encourage Netanyahu to continue to pursue direct talks with the Palestinian Authority to achieve peace.

"The public has given you a second chance," he said. "You [Netanyahu] have a chance to join the national pantheon along with Ben-Gurion, Begin and Rabin."


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