Right and Left attack Livni's return to politics

Likud accuses Livni of wanting to bring Hamas closer to W. Bank; Yesh Atid and Labor decry decision to split Center-Left bloc.

Netanyahu Livni Yacimovich trio (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Itzik Harari, Knesset Spokesman)
Netanyahu Livni Yacimovich trio
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Itzik Harari, Knesset Spokesman)
Former Kadima head Tzipi Livni's decision to launch a new political party drew harsh condemnation from across the political spectrum on Tuesday, in what could be the first time in recent years officials from Likud to Meretz all agreed on any particular issue.
During a press conference formally launching the "The Tzipi Livni Party," (called Hatnuah in Hebrew) Livni said her organization represented the only ideological alternative in the upcoming elections to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government.
The Likud responded harshly to Livni's announcement, describing her as nationally irresponsible and politically incomprehensible. "Tzipi Livni supported the disengagement and brought Hamas to Gaza, now she is working vigorously to bring Hamas to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank)," a party spokesman said, accusing her of projecting weakness to Israel's enemies.
Yesh Atid, which has tried to position itself in the Center of Israel's political spectrum, attacked Livni for recycling the "same old politics." In a press statement, the party added "It is unfortunate that Livni refused to take part in real change for the lives of Israeli citizens," expressing that Livni's decision was made out of considerations for her own ego than for the Israeli public. Party leader Yair Lapid had recently offered Livni the No. 2 position on his party’s list for the Knesset.
The Labor party called Livni's decision a "bitter mistake," adding "she is creating a party for the refugees of refugees, and is making (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu and (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Liberman smile broadly. Instead of focusing on [the Likud's] ultra-extreme party list, we are now dealing with the formation of new parties in the Center."
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich slammed Livni at a Tel Aviv press conference on Tuesday evening, saying "a worthy leader knows how to make decisions and doesn't change their agenda every minute." She added that the Center should be uniting to topple Netanyahu rather than forming new parties and further splintering.
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Meretz head Zehava Gal-On used Livni's announcement to assert her party's claim as Israel's only representative on the Left. "Livni is a deserving woman filled with good intentions," she said. "But her entrance into the political realm is a repeat of Kadima, only backwards, because she is weakening her opponents in the Center bloc - Labor and Yesh Atid. In previous elections Livni dressed as a leftist but failed as an impotent opposition party. Her political message is also dazed and confused after she supported the IDF operation in Gaza."
Perhaps the harshest condemnation came from Livni's former party, Kadima, as MK Yisrael Hasson called her a "facade" and described her as "the woman who agrees to sit down with Abu Mazen, Abu Allah and Ali Baba but refuses to sit down with (Kadima head) Shaul Mofaz, a former IDF chief of staff and defense minister."
Hasson, a confidant of Shaul Mofaz, charged Livni with being disloyal and added that she "does not have a gram of truth in her."