Livni dares Netanyahu to defy hawks and achieve peace

Kadima leader blasts the rightwing parties in the coalition and questions the prime minister’s commitment to reaching peace.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 6, 2010 22:53
2 minute read.
Kadima head Tzipi Livni.

Livni 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni challenged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday to defy the hawks in his coalition and reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast for Kadima activists and MKs in Petah Tikva, Livni blasted the rightwing parties in the coalition and questioned the prime minister’s commitment to reaching peace.

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“Words that are nice to the ear won’t be enough,” Livni said. “The prime minister will have to make decisions – decisions for which he may have to pay a personal and political price – decisions that will be fought against in and out of his home.”

Sources close to Livni said that when she spoke about Netanyahu’s “home,” she was referring to politicians in his coalition and not his wife Sara and father Benzion, who are known for their hawkish views.

A day after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told activists from his party that a peace agreement with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not achievable for generations, Livni said a deal could be reached if Netanyahu truly desired it.

“Kadima wishes the prime minister success, unlike his own ministers,” Livni said. “The ministers are already talking about failure before the talks have even started. I say to them that they have no right to take hope away from the citizens of Israel. An end to the conflict is achievable if the prime minister wants it. There is no such thing as ’I can’t.’ There is only ‘I don’t want to.’”

Accusing both Lieberman and Shas chairman Eli Yishai of hypocrisy, Livni said that Netanyahu has a foreign minister who left the last government because of the Annapolis process and an interior minister who said he would not be part of a government that negotiates on Jerusalem. Livni blamed the fact that diplomatic negotiations did not start until Thursday on Netanyahu and not on Abbas or US President Barack Obama.



“This government wasted a year and a half,” she said.

At a festive dinner for the 74 coalition MKs and their spouses at his Jerusalem residence Monday night, Netanyahu called for togetherness in the coalition.

“When we stand before so many challenges, it is important that we remain united and maintain a good atmosphere in a government that knows how to argue among the various points of view represented in it and then make decisions,” he said.


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