Livni admits she considered resigning

Says she changed her mind; High Court rejects petition for PM to fire her.

The High Court of Justice rejected a petition Thursday calling for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to fire Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, or to order her to resign, after she had called on Olmert to quit due to the Winograd interim report findings. The judges claimed this was a political issue where there was no place for judicial criticism. The foreign minister herself told reporters on Thursday that she had considered resigning from the government, but had changed her mind. Speaking after a special Knesset session on the Winograd Committee's interim war report, Livni said that quitting the government would have been a sign of protest rather than of leadership. The foreign minister, who on Wednesday, called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down, said she was concerned that if she resigned, other members of her party would do the same.
  • Olmert survives Kadima rebellion She also reiterated that she wanted her ministry to be included in security consultations. During the one-hour Knesset session, Livni and Olmert sat side-by-side without making eye contact, emphasizing relations that Livni admitted to reporters were "not the best." Livni has come under fire from MKs for her refusal to leave her post following the release of the Winograd report, after blatantly urging the prime minister to leave his. However, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Immigrant Absorption Minister Ze'ev Boim praised Livni on Thursday morning, saying she had spoken honestly and courageously. Boim told Israel Radio that Livni understood that she couldn't make underhanded moves without the whole structure falling on her head. MK Tzahi Hanegbi, meanwhile, said Thursday morning that he had asked Olmert not to fire Livni or "engage in any confrontation with her beyond their real disagreement over the meaning of the [Winograd] report." According to Hanegbi, who took over as coalition chairman after former chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki tendered his resignation on Wednesday, "it is [Livni's] absolute right to think what she expressed yesterday, [and it is] the prime minister's right to think the opposite." Sheera Claire Frenkel contributed to this report.