Tzipi Livni Announces Israel Election Run

Moderate Vows To 'Fight for Peace' With Palestinians

Longshot Run: Opinion polls predict Tzipi Livni will not come close to unseating Benjamin Netanyahu.
getty images
Longshot Run: Opinion polls predict Tzipi Livni will not come close to unseating Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Reuters

Published November 27, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced her candidacy on Tuesday in a January general election, pledging to “fight for peace” with the Palestinians as a centrist alternative to Israel’s right-wing leadership.

Livni, voted out as the head of the main opposition Kadima party in an internal ballot in March, told a news conference she had formed a new party, “Hat’nua” (The Movement).

Opinion polls predict Livni will win seven to nine of parliament’s 120-seats, grabbing votes from left-of-centre factions and not generating enough support to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc.

Livni, a 54-year-old corporate lawyer, was once touted as Israel’s next Golda Meir – the only woman who ever served as prime minister. As foreign minister from 2006 to 2009, during Ehud Olmert’s premiership, she was appointed to the high-profile task of heading peace talks with the Palestinians.

But the negotiations failed, Olmert was forced to step down in a corruption scandal, and while Kadima won more votes than Likud in the ensuing 2009 parliamentary election, Netanyahu outmanoeuvred Livni to form a broad coalition government.

Her return to frontline politics will further fracture Israel’s centre-left, with a slew of parties courting the same pool of voters and rejecting suggestions that they should merge to form a stronger, more unified front against Netanyahu.

Thronged by supporters and standing in front of a banner bearing the name of her new party, Livni spoke of hope, unity and dialogue. “I came to fight for peace, I came to fight for security,” she said.

STALEMATE

Livni has long criticised the stalemate in peace efforts that collapsed in 2010 after Netanyahu rebuffed Palestinian demands to extend a 10-month partial freeze in settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

At the news conference, she said Netanyahu had negotiated indirectly with Hamas Islamists to achieve a truce in the Gaza Strip last week while failing to pursue a resumption of talks with Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu and the United States, the dominant sponsor of the Middle East peace process, have called repeatedly for Abbas to return to negotiations without preconditions.

Abbas has opted instead to seek an upgrade in the Palestinians’ U.N. status to “observer state”. The 193-member world body is expected to back the move in a vote on Thursday, implicitly recognising Palestinian statehood.

In what could be a boost for Livni, as she seeks middle-of-the-road backing, Netanyahu’s party veered sharply to the right on Monday, selecting hardliners to top its candidates’ list in the Jan. 22 ballot.

“Israeli citizens deserve more,” Livni said, taking a swipe at Likud, which tossed aside four moderate members of Netanyahu’s cabinet supportive of diplomacy with the Palestinians.

“Netanyahu lost yesterday in the Likud and he can lose in the election,” Livni said.

Since quitting Kadima and giving up her parliamentary seat eight months ago, Livni joined a leading Tel Aviv think tank. She said supporters had urged her to return to politics and that her decision “wasn’t an easy one to make”.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.