Kadima not joining gov’t despite flotilla crisis

Livni says makeup of coalition must change for her party to consider unity government.

Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni on Thursday ruled out her party joining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition in its current form, despite the crisis over the Gaza flotilla raid.
Army Radio reported that the Likud would make a new effort to persuade at least part of Kadima to join the coalition. But Likud officials involved in previous efforts to widen the coalition denied the report.
“Whether we join depends on the policy and the makeup of the coalition,” Livni told Army Radio. “Netanyahu formed his government not to advance processes but for the collective survival of the parties in his coalition. That’s his choice. Until now he still hasn’t changed his mind. He has to make decisions on the diplomatic front now, not the political one.”
Ynet reported late Thursday night that Labor chairman Ehud Barak met with Livni a few weeks ago at a private home and discussed political issues, including the possibility of changing the makeup of the coalition. Barak’s spokesman downplayed the report.
Earlier on Thursday, Kadima MK Ze’ev Bielski called upon Netanyahu torestructure his coalition due to the international condemnation of thenaval raid. Bielski stressed that he did not want Kadima to join at theexpense of other parties and not to expand an already wide coalition.
“In light of the difficult situation that Israel has fallen to a yearafter the formation of the Likud-Lieberman government, Israel’s imagein the free world must be rehabilitated immediately,” Bielski said. “Icall upon Netanyahu to foster national unity among the people ofIsrael. Everyone must show responsibility and take steps to restoreIsrael to its natural position among the family of nations.”
Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who has been calling for Kadima to join thegovernment nonstop over the past year, praised Bielski and called uponKadima’s leaders to support the initiative.