Israel PM seeks Livni for coalition

Leader of opposition Kadima says she is open to discuss any serious offer.

    Livni rejected joining Netanyahu's right-wing
    coalition after elections in March [AFP]

    Negotiating points

    Livni's Kadima party has 28 MPs in the Knesset, the 120-member Israeli parliament, the largest number of any party.

    She rejected an offer to join the ruling coalition, which contains Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, the centre-left Labour, and far-right and religious parties, after elections in March.

    Reports have surfaced in recent days that Netanyahu has attempted to persuade several Kadima MPs to join his coalition to weaken the opposition party.

    Sherine Tadros, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said that there is still a wide gulf between the position of the Kadima party, headed by Livni, and Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government.

    "Chief amongst those differences is the issue of the Palestinians and what is on the table when it comes to negotiating with them," she said.

    "Livni has always maintained that everything has to be on the table when Israel negotiates with the Palestinians - including Jerusalem, the borders and settlements.

    "And this is why she did not join the coalition government back in March when it was being formed."

    Unclear motive

    Tadros added that there has been no recent indication that Netanyahu would accede to Livni's demands.

    "We also saw a very heated discussion on Wednesday in the Knesset where Livni took Netanyahu to task over his foreign policy, very much calling it a failed foreign policy."

    Tadros said that the offer was made either to weaken Kadima or because Netanyahu may want the support of more centrist politicians in order to push through centrist policies in parliament, such as a 10-month settlement construction suspension and to aid a deal with Hamas, the Palestinian group, for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

    According to Netanyahu's office Livni has not been offered a ministerial position so far.

    The prime minister said to Livni that a future unity government would be based on his vision of both a Jewish and Palestinian state existing side-by-side.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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