Renewed construction makes unity gov’t unlikely

Livni to Netanyahu: Kadima will support any move to keep peace talks going.

Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The resumption of construction in Judea and Samaria has made the construction of a national-unity government with Likud and Kadima less likely, sources in the two parties said Monday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni agreed during a phone conversation on Monday to meet as early as next week. The two did not mention any possibility of future political cooperation when they spoke.
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Livni joined the US State Department, the United Nations and the rest of the international community in scolding Netanyahu for not renewing the 10-month West Bank construction moratorium that ended Sunday night or taking other steps that could keep the Palestinians at the negotiating table.
“Israel is in a very problematic situation,” Livni told Netanyahu. “You must take action to restart talks and avoid their breakdown. You must make the decisions necessary for the talks to continue. Kadima will support you if you do.”
Earlier Monday, Kadima released a statement saying that it had made it clear to Netanyahu time and time again that it supported every move that would advance the diplomatic process and bring Israel a peace deal, and opposed moves that prevented diplomatic advancement and encouraged Israel’s isolation.
“Livni has said she would be willing to have Kadima join the government if Netanyahu would display serious intentions to reach a full peace agreement and to form a different coalition that could support these intentions,” the spokesman said.
“The last few days have proven that the the government has no clear policies. Netanyahu’s poor decision-making is causing difficulties for Israel. He should not use political excuses to prevent the diplomatic process’s advancement.”
The spokesman’s statement came in response to a call for a national unity government from Minister-without-Portfolio Michael Eitan, which the dovish Likud minister made on his personal website.
“We will need broad national unity for the period ahead, and we should already work to build the foundations for it now,” Eitan said.
“Our achievements in the negotiations will be better if we come on the basis of broad national agreement."
“I am not naive,” he went on. “I realize that to reach agreements, all the parties have to be interested. But this is such a critical time in our history that our leadership must make every effort possible to reach national unity so we will have the best team possible.”
Eitan’s call for unity was immediately endorsed by rightist Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who said his party should seriously consider any overture for unity that could enable the advancement of the diplomatic process.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told reporters on a visit to Hebron that he supported the formation of a national-unity government with Kadima, but only according to the current coalition guidelines, a condition that Kadima would not accept.
Hawkish Likud MK Danny Danon, meanwhile, condemned Eitan’s overtures to Kadima.
“The public did not vote for the nationalist camp to see Kadima’s agenda implemented,” he said.