Netanyahu and Livni sign coalition agreement 21Feb13 February 21, 2013

MEMO-Middle East Monitor    -    20 February 2013

benjamin-netanyahu-tzipi-livniIsrael’s incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and former Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, announced yesterday their agreement to form the country’s next coalition government and pledged to protect the “Jewish identity for the State of Israel.”

Speaking at a joint press conference, both the Likud-Beiteinu leader, Netanyahu, and the Hatnua party leader, Livni, spoke about the terms of their agreement through which Livni is to hold the justice ministry and take charge of any future Palestinian negotiations.

“The commitment to negotiations led to a partnership,” Livni told reporters. “Two and a half months ago my colleagues and I formed Hatnua and we vowed to fight for a diplomatic agreement, even if it does not pay off politically.”

Livni considers the commitment to diplomacy as the main reason behind the coalition agreement. “This led to a partnership with the prime minister after I was given the opportunity to negotiate with the aim of ending the conflict with the Palestinians.”

Although Livni’s party is regarded as centre-left, she spoke candidly of plans to achieve far-right objectives through her diplomacy. On related Palestinian matters, she said that “Hamas controls Gaza and wants to take over the West Bank; this could lead to the loss of the State of Israel’s Jewish identity.”

According to the agreement, Livni whose party won six seats in last month’s election will become a member of Netanyahu’s inner cabinet.

On his part, Netanyahu acknowledged Livni’s commitment to achieving peace and resolving the conflict. He said she “will be a senior partner in the effort to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians aimed at achieving peace between the two nation-states.”

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