PM denies asking Peres to enlist Livni into coalition

Coalition MKs sign petition led by Kadima initiating a special session of the Knesset with the prime minister over Israel's diplomatic isolation.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
October 14, 2010 04:27
2 minute read.
bibi and livni

311_bibi and livni. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Prime Minister’s Office denied a report on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had asked President Shimon Peres to pressure Kadima leader Tzipi Livni to join the coalition.

A report in Wednesday’s Yediot Aharonot said Netanyahu had met secretly with Peres for more than three hours over dinner on Monday night. It said they had analyzed the political situation and the challenges of the current US-Israel relationship and that Netanyahu had asked the president for help with Livni.

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Beit Hanassi responded on Wednesday night that the prime minister and the president meet frequently and they never reveal the content of the conversations.

Livni fiercely attacked Netanyahu for the fifth day in a row on Wednesday after a cover story in Ma’ariv over the weekend portrayed her as an ineffective opposition leader who was afraid to get her hands dirty by criticizing the prime minister.

“Israel has a prime minister whose policies have no connection to what he promised during the election,” Livni said. “It’s all due to pressure. Because he lacks the courage to stand up to his ministers and insist on differentiating between the settlement blocs and isolated settlements, he has shifted the international debate to [territories] that we once took for granted.”

Regarding Netanyahu’s decision not to cave in to pressure from US President Barack Obama to extend the 10-month West Bank moratorium on housing starts, Livni said, “A responsible leader helps our friends around the world and does not embarrass them. The president of the United States wanted two months of quiet and Netanyahu responded with a shameful request to receive something to persuade the right-wing parties in his government.”

The Likud responded that “Livni has already proven that she is ready for huge concessions at the expense of Israel’s interests, especially with UN Resolution 1701 that she initiated to end the Second Lebanon War, which allowed the rearming of Hizbullah with tens of thousands of Iranian missiles. Netanyahu will make sure such strategic mistakes are not repeated.”

For the first time since Netanyahu’s government was formed in March 2009, coalition MKs on Wednesday signed a petition led by Kadima initiating a special session of the Knesset with the prime minister’s participation.

Labor rebel MKs Eitan Cabel, Amir Peretz, Daniel Ben-Simon and Ghaleb Majadle signed the petition for a Knesset session under the banner: “the failure of the Netanyahu government on the diplomatic issue and the isolation of the State of Israel.”


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