Tzipi Livni concerned about Israel's strategic position
Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: AFP
Deputy Ayalon and Turkish ambassador
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Livni slams PM over Turkey fiasco
Opposition leader blames Netanyahu for 'strategic mistakes', says leadership weakened Israel internationally

Breaking the silence – Opposition leader Tzipi Livni slammed Thursday the prime minister, foreign minister and his deputy for their conduct vis-à-vis the Turkish Ambassador.


Livni said that the government is jeopardizing Israel's strategic position and creating a situation whereby Israel's enemies think it "only understands threats."


The Kadima leader, who spoke at Ben Gurion University, said "if someone thinks the way to safeguard Israel's interests is by playing musical chairs, the result is domestic messages that might win some votes but prompt grave strategic mistakes."


Livni's remarks came after Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon humiliated Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol by sitting him in a lower chair during their meeting and making comments about it to the Israeli media.


"If we sum up the past few days, we can say that Israel's leadership adopted strong tone domestically, but weakened Israel internationally. The interpretation among radical regional elements will be that Israel only understands threats."


Where was the PM?

The Kadima chairwoman also criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who initially backed Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and only later demanded that Deputy Minister Ayalon apologize to the Turks.


"The question is not only the manner in which the deputy foreign minister express himself, but also where was the prime minister all this time? We have been talking about who was taller and who was shorter for the past three days, while the real damage is to Israel's interests," she said.


Livni noted that she was careful not to criticize the prime minister on this matter due to the conflict between Israel and Turkey, but said that the recent incident cannot be disregarded because it "constitutes Israel's policy rather than that of a misguided individual."


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