Kadima Rejects Netanyahu's Offer

Kadima, led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, declined the offer to form a national unity government made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the offer "cynical and unrealistic." Last week, PM Netanyahu surprised Livni with an offer to form a broad-based coalition government that would have given Kadima, the largest party in the Israeli Knesset with 28 seats, four unspecified cabinets posts. Netanyahu cited existential threats to the state of Israel in making the offer but most Israeli political observers suggested that the offer was a ploy to hasten the fracture of the centrist Kadima party, the largest opposition party.

More from Al Jazeera:

Kadima, Israel's main opposition party, has voted against joining the ruling coalition after an offer from Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, last week.

Yohanan Plasner, a Kadima MP, said that the offer had been unanimously rejected on Monday by the party's parliamentary group.

"The prime minister's proposal as relayed to the Kadima chairman does not express an honest desire for such partnership," Plasner said.

"A unity government has many advantages, but a national unity should not be an empty expression, but a commitment for a real partnership with a joint vision and principles and an agreed way to materialise these principles," he said.

Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, said that Netanyahu's offer was "cynical and unrealistic".

She said that the offer was an attempt to use Israel's international relations issues for "small-time politics", adding such behaviour was "unworthy of the prime minister".

I should note that Livni has been facing an internal party challenge from Shaul Mofaz, the former Transportation Minister in the Olmert government. According to Ha'aretz, Mofaz is backing Livni on the rejection saying that "Netanyahu's offer, as it appears today, is arrogant and unrealistic. This arrogance is not a good quality for a leader; I tell Netanyahu today what I told Livni a few days ago: Arrogance is not a substitute for leadership."

Meanwhile poor Bibi is playing the role of a jilted lover. The Prime Minister's office released a short statement: "Netanyahu was saddened to hear that the Kadima faction, headed by Tzipi Livni, refused his offer and refused to broaden the national unity government. In light of the challenges Israel is currently facing, the prime minister had hoped that Kadima's stance would be different."

Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Kadima, Tzipi Livni (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Re: Kadima Rejects Netanyahu's Offer

I've been surprised by how well Mofaz and Livni are working together. Smart move to lure him in and then beat him with the stick.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Kadima Rejects Netanyahu's Offer

It is not really evident that there is much space between Netanyahu and Livni, or Likud and Kadima. The policies of both parties head toward a long predicted Apartheid configuration in the Palestinian territories, the so-called Palestinian state. Kadima is here with us today only because Sharon finally recognized that Jordan was not Palestine, that the Palestinians would not go away, and that if Israel annexed all of the territories, a demographic bomb would explode.

And it is not clear how Netanyahu can move in another direction. Ethnic cleansing techniques have not worked, and the Palestinian population has remained fairly stable.

by MainStreet 2009-12-28 09:16AM | 0 recs
Unclear

I share your skepticism, but the map that Olmert discussed as a potential final status with Abbas got much closer to 100% (within .5% with land swaps) of the occupied territories, 22% of mandatory Palestine, than anything we might expect from Bibi (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1135 699.html with link to map here as well).  If this is what Livni is working with, then she's much closer to the Saudi/Arab League plan.  It doesn't cover all the issues, but its a much more realistic negotiating position.  Mofaz's plan is, as I think you know, a non-starter for Palestinians.  More interim land transfers and foot dragging while settlements expand.

by Strummerson 2009-12-28 09:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Unclear

I missed that article, which I thank you for linking to, but it was another one, probably also from Haaretz, that contended that the space between Netanyahu and Livni was minimal.

I suspect that it was Olmert's final plan to maintain Jerusalem unified under Israel that might have turned Abbas off. If you may recall, that point was also a stickler for Arafat, when he was allegedly offered 93% (Barak, Camp David) and 97% (Clinton, Taba) of the territories, with swaps. Of course, in the end, as with Barak, Olmert would have had to face the Knesset, and according to Barak years later, not even his own party, Labor, would have voted to evacuate (disengage, was the term he used after Sharon) a single settlement. The "generous offer" was therefore empty of reality, which is why it was in retrospect a hoax. Barak knew that before he landed in the US for the negotiations.

If Livni were ever to get the PM position she would undoubtedly have to face the reality of the right wing religious groups, Likud, and a waning left wing where it can hurt, in the Knesset.

by MainStreet 2009-12-28 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Kadima Rejects Netanyahu's Offer

Really good point, that Kadima emerged with the demographic realization. But, even just that, is an important distinction because its' within Israel as well. In my view, that's enough of a distinction between the Lieberman faction and the Livni faction, that chooses Kadima as the path forward. The only way forward (decades in the working) is for Israel to become a more pluralist state, which the demographics will demand over time.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-12-28 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Kadima Rejects Netanyahu's Offer

Perhaps that realization, the demographic threat, is why many people believe that only an Apartheid solution is left, which would keep the noncitizen Palestinians confined geographically and politically. Clearly, Sharon's concept of unilateral disengagement and Olmert's earlier one of convergence did not provide all the land that Olmert apparently later discussed in his maps. At the early point, Olmert talked about having to evacuate only 20-30 settlements, out of the 130 or so present in the West Bank. (Gaza was already withdrawn from)

I would have to say that the best thing Olmert did was to pull out maps. At Camp David, the Israelis insisted that nothing be written down and no maps be drawn.

I think we may have to wait and see if Livni eventually takes a turn at PM.

by MainStreet 2009-12-28 04:17PM | 0 recs

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