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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Livni to be foreign minister in next Netanyahu government?

A report from Israel Radio political correspondent Chico Menashe on Tuesday claimed that Tzipi Livni party leader Tzipi Livni is angling to be foreign minister in Prime Minister Netanyahu's next government, and that there have been contacts to that effect between the two camps. Both Netanyahu and Livni have denied the report.
The Tzipi Livni Party called Menashe’s report “political spin” and said experience proved Netanyahu preferred his natural partners on the Right. MK Majallie Whbee, who was Livni’s deputy foreign minister, said that if Israelis wanted Livni, they would have to vote for her.
However, Livni herself did not rule out the possibility of cooperating with Netanyahu in a Jerusalem Post interview two weeks ago.


In an effort to distance herself from Netanyahu, Livni slammed a speech he made at a Likud rally in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, mocking his statements over the weekend that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were watching the election to see whether he would be strengthened.
“Mashaal watched Netanyahu and saw the man who allowed Hamas to celebrate at our expense in Gaza [after last month’s Operation Pillar of Defense],” Livni said. “Ahmadinejad watched and saw the man who allowed Israel’s international image to deteriorate due to his policies.”
The comment about Hamas is especially hypocritical. Livni was part of a government four years ago that had a chance to finish Hamas off four years ago and didn't have the junk to do it. Netanyahu was nowhere near as close.

In the meantime, the Netanyahu camp's denials sound similarly like milquetoast.
Likud ministers publicly expressed optimism that Liberman would once again be foreign minister and they would not have to cooperate with Livni.
They ruled out the possibility that Netanyahu would trust Livni to negotiate with the Palestinians.
“Livni has gotten desperate because her party has not taken off in the polls,” Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said. “Of course she wants to be foreign minister, but Netanyahu will not let it happen.”
Netanyahu made statements at the Jerusalem rally that would seem to indicate he was not moving in Livni’s direction.
“We did a lot to strengthen the settlements [in the past four years], and in the next four years we’ll continue to do a lot to strengthen the settlements,” he said at the event.
Big deal. Netanyahu is the one who is desperate. All of his allies to his left - Begin, Meridor and Eitan - lost in the primaries. In fact, had Netanyahu himself stood for reelection in the primaries (he did not), I doubt he would have finished number 1 and he might not have even finished with a realistic slot. That's why he's spending his time fighting with (and hemorrhaging votes to) Naftali Bennett and Jewish Home. He's genuinely afraid that he will have no choice but to make a coalition with Jewish Home.

The question is whether the other Likud MK's on the list - most of whom are well to Netanyahu's right - can prevent him from squandering a victory by allying his party with the mendacious Livni.

What could go wrong?

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