Days after she agreed to bring her party into the coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where she will serve as justice minister while piloting negotiations with the Palestinians, Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni said she was opposed to “provocations” such as building in the contested area known as E1, a move her new coalition partner is known to support.
“We don’t have to make provocations that just poke out the other side’s eye and stir up the world against us,” she said.
“E1” is the name of a corridor between East Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, in the West Bank. It is a highly contested area which has been the site of Palestinian protests in recent months.
Speaking to Channel 2 Saturday, Livni said she had joined Netanyahu’s coalition out of an understanding that “the path to preserving the state of Israel as Jewish and democratic, to retaining Jerusalem and Ariel, passes through a political process.”
She said she had not gone back on her promise to voters by joining Netanyahu’s coalition – on the contrary, she “went in to save Israel from disaster,” convinced that the changed regional and international circumstances had created a window of opportunity for talks with the Palestinians.
She added that she believed Netanyahu’s intentions concerning the renewal of the peace process were sincere. “We will be partners,” she said. “I couldn’t sit on the sidelines, allowing Israel to deteriorate.”
Livni called on Labor party head Shelly Yachimovich to join the coalition as well, in order to create “an entirely different government.”
Asked if she viewed Jewish Home party head Naftali Bennett as a threat, Livni said she hoped Netanyahu wouldn’t compromise his alliance with her merely because she had fewer seats to bring into the coalition. “I hope the question won’t be who has more seats, but rather who has the right policy. That will be our test – mine and Netanyahu’s.”
She added that she regretted Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid’s decision to attach himself to a party — Jewish Home — that “represents the opposite” of re-engagement with the Palestinians.
“I truly am the only one fighting for a political process,” she said. “I’ve stayed loyal to my principles.”