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Tzipi Livni Photo: Yaron Brener
Tzipi Livni Photo: Yaron Brener
 
Shaul Mofaz Photo: Yotam Frum
Shaul Mofaz Photo: Yotam Frum
 
Otniel Schneller Photo: Michal Petel
Otniel Schneller Photo: Michal Petel
 
Ze'ev Boim Photo: Yaron Brener
Ze'ev Boim Photo: Yaron Brener
 
 

Livni aides: Mofaz's aspirations have to wait

Kadima chairwoman's associates say she convinced majority of party members there is no use in entering Netanyahu's coalition; others ask Likud's unity bid not be automatically rejected

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 03.01.09, 09:06 / Israel News

Sources close to Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni stressed Saturday night that despite the growing sentiment in the party, seeking to study Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition offer, she has no intention of forming a team to do so.

 

Livni and the Likud chairman met again on Friday, as part of Netanyahu's bid to have Kadima join his coalition. Their meeting, like the one before it, proved futile. "(Livni) sees no need to form any negotiation team and the faction is backing her," said a Kadima source.

 

Stands
Livni says won't join Netanyahu-led government / Attila Somfalvi
Kadima chairwoman ends meeting with prime minister-designate after Likud leader refuses to commit to two-state solution. 'This is a matter of principle,' Livni says, vowing to act as 'a responsible opposition'. Likud MK Sa'ar: Livni torpedoing unity out of personal motives
Full story

Those close to Livni also jeered Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who voiced his desire to join the coalition last week, saying that while his aspiration to be the next defense minister was understandable, he would have to bide his time "and wait until the next elections".

 

Nevertheless, many in Kadima would like Livni to elasticize her stand: Knesset Member Otniel Schneller reiterated Mofaz's sentiments, telling Ynet that he believed "Tzipi really does want to examine the issues and I think that Netanyahu's offers are lacking, but we have to study them further. As far as I know she hasn't vetoed joining the Likud's coalition.

 

"It's a little pathetic, what is going on in the political arena," added Schneller. "If Bibi is sincere about continuing the peace process based on the decisions made by previous governments – and I believe he has said that several times before – than any permanent agreements would be based on settlement blocs and security zones, which spell out the two-state solution.

 

"I believe in communication and compromise… If the Likud is willing to meet Kadima half way, which it seems willing to do, then I believe we can reach an understanding," he concluded.

 

National agenda comes first

Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim, cautious, expressed the opposite view: "I would like to learn more about the meeting with Netanyahu. I understand Tzipi was not convinced that he was really willing to negotiate with the Palestinians, but we still have to see what can be done.

 

"As important as (political) outlooks are, we cannot ignore the national agenda. The economical and strategic issues are weighting and one has to wonder if a narrow government could shoulder them. We were the ones to say 'county first – party second,' so we are facing a big dilemma.

 

"The main problem," added the Kadima minister, "is that Bibi is restricted by the radical Right, which begs the questions what good would it do us to join the government? If he were to renounce the radical Right and express similar views to ours, then we would have to put the country first, but that is not the case right now."

 

Livni briefed her party on her meeting with Netanyahu over the weekend, causing some in the party to express their disapproval. The dynamics of the next few days, they told Ynet, will determine if the party will demand a coalition negotiation team be put together.

 

Meanwhile, the Likud stands to accelerate the coalition talks with the right-wing parties, as Netanyahu said that he intends on forming a government as soon as possible, in order to tend to matters of State.

 

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