Israel's Tzipi Livni Will Face Struggle To Jumpstart Palestinian Peace Process

Is Moderate a 'Fig Leaf' for Netanyahu's Hard Line?

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By Reuters

Published February 20, 2013.
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“He’ll send her often to the Americans and the Europeans, who like her, so she can explain how hard coalition life is, and how insubordinate the Palestinians are.”

Addressing such scepticism, Livni told Hatnuah legislators that her former party, the centrist Kadima, “would have been a fig leaf for an existing policy” had it followed other factions and joined the government Netanyahu formed four years ago.

But with current coalition efforts still in flux, she said, Hatnuah had come to the cabinet table first and its agreement with Netanyahu and commitment to peace would serve as guidelines for setting government policy.

In 2006-2009, Livni failed as then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s foreign minister and peace negotiator to clinch a peace deal even after he offered a withdrawal from much of the West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war.

Now, key clauses in the coalition accord appeared tailored to rein in Israel’s most prominent female politician,

She “will coordinate with the prime minister - who bears supreme responsibility and directs policy - the moves that she proposes and will regularly report all developments to him”, the text of the pact read.

It also stipulated that Netanyahu, who has balked at again freezing settlement after a 10-month partial construction suspension three years ago, would keep a watchful eye on his new political partner.

“The prime minister will appoint a senior representative … (who) will permanently accompany the negotiations and participate in every meeting, contact and discussion related to the peace process,” the agreement said.

“There will be no parallel negotiations.”

OBAMA VISIT

“I hope (Livni’s appointment) is not a tactical move on part of Mr. Netanyahu in preparation for the visit of Mr Obama,” said Abdallah Abdallah, a senior official of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.


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