Livni slams Mofaz over his diplomatic proposals

Livni slams Mofaz over h

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni attacked her No. 2 in the party, Shaul Mofaz, over the weekend, accusing him of adopting policies that she had campaigned against around the world. Mofaz, a former defense minister, announced a new diplomatic plan last week that calls for establishing a Palestinian state with temporary borders in 60 percent of the West Bank while annexing settlement blocs, and then negotiating final borders. He also said he would be willing to negotiate a diplomatic deal with Hamas if it was elected by the Palestinians and accepted the Quartet's conditions of renouncing violence, disarming terrorists, and recognizing Israel's right to exist and all past agreements with the Jewish state. But Livni got the impression from the Hebrew press that Mofaz's only condition was that Hamas get elected. "Mofaz talks about the possibility of speaking to Hamas if they are elected," she told Yediot Aharonot columnist Sima Kadmon. "I would only [talk to them] if they accept the conditions of the Quartet. That is a huge difference. The Quartet's conditions were set after Hamas was elected in Gaza. We persuaded the entire world not to speak to them. Will we now withdraw that request?" When Livni referred to Hamas getting elected in Gaza, she was referring to the Palestinian parliamentary election in January 2006 in Gaza and the West Bank and not to the June 2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza by force. Further criticizing Mofaz's plan, Livni said it was wrong to give the Palestinians a state and only then try to solve the core issues of the conflict. A Dialog Institute poll published in Haaretz on Friday found that 57% of Israelis agreed with Mofaz that Israel should negotiate with Hamas if it accepted the Quartet's conditions. The poll found that 72% of Kadima voters and 53% of Likud supporters agreed with Mofaz. Asked who is most fitting to be prime minister, 43% said Binyamin Netanyahu, 27% said Livni, 10% cited Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and just 5% said Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Fifteen percent said they did not know. Netanyahu and Barak each had 50% approval for their job performance, while Lieberman garnered 38% and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, 28%. On the question of who is at fault for the absence of talks between Israel and the Palestinians, 50% said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, 15% said Netanyahu and 27% said both equally. Eight percent did not know. If an election were held now, the Likud would win 33 seats (up from 27 in last February's vote), Kadima 29 (up from 28) and Labor only 6 (down from 13). The team Barak appointed to reach out to the Labor rebel MKs will hold its first meeting this week. Top party activists loyal to Barak wrote critical letters to the rebels over the weekend. "We didn't elect you to break up the party," the activists wrote. "The mandate you received belongs to the party and not to you."•