Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi Livni formed her new party a mere three weeks ago, and while so far the polls are unfavorable as to the party's chances of crossing the electoral threshold, the former Kadima chairwoman believes things can change.
In a special interview with Ynet, Livni said that the main issue on which the elections for the 19th Knesset revolves is the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
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"That was what drove me to come back. We've lost faith that a peace deal can be struck, but we can't afford to do so. It's also not true.
"I was at the negotiation table with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas and I believe we can reach an agreement."
Livni knows that in order to achieve her political aspirations she would most likely have to go head-to-head with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman; which is why, she said, she was focusing her efforts in creating a political bloc that can block the Right.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
"I'm fighting to stop the formation of another radical government," she said. "If that won't happen, I'll review my options, according to my skills, my values and my experience in pushing for what I believe in.
"I know that I, as prime minister, could walk into a room tomorrow with the Palestinians and we could reach a future agreement."
Livni at the Ynet studio (Photo: Benny Deutsch)
The former foreign minister added that even after an agreement with the Palestinians is reached, "It's a far cry from peace and it will be complex, but the fact that Netanyahu is seriously – and cynically – telling the public that 'there's no chance for peace,' and that 'Abu Mazen is like Mashaal' – that turns Israel into an indrawn ghetto that's afraid of the world.
"That is not the sovereign State of Israel of 2012," she stressed.
'Netanyahu harming Israel's security'
Tuning her attention to the worldwide criticism leveled at Israel over the government's plans to pursue settlement expansion in the West Bank, Livni said that the move was part of a planned campaign.
"Netanyahu is harming Israel's security interests with unsavvy, election-driven politics. I was part of the Likud and I know how things work… it's all about the polls, saying that if (the Right's) voters agree on the issue of Jerusalem and the settlement blocs, it should become the campaign."
Settlements, she said, do little to boost Israel's security. "We built them with a different vision – one the majority of the public no longer agrees with.
"We have to preserve settlement blocs if we can, and see what can be done to encourage some settlers to leave of their own accord. That would certainly make future steps easier."
As for her disagreement with both the Left and the Right, she said: "I'm in the center and I have two hands. With my right I think that we should strike Hamas, maintain the (Gaza) blockade and refrain from negotiations, like Netanyahu has. On my left, I think we should talk to Abu Mazen.
"From the right – we should protect the Jewish state, and from the left – we should conserve democratic values. From the right – we should encourage a free market; and from the left – we should create a social safety net."
Livni stressed that her decision to reenter politics stemmed from "The lack of alternative candidates. I returned to politics after the public made it clear that there was no one to vote for.
"I feel it was my duty to offer an alternative."
Yuval Karni contributed to this report
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