Israel’s right-wing Jewish Home Party has called on Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni to resign her post. Livni, who met in London on Thursday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has been called out by other members of government for breaching official policy.
“Tzipi Livni long ago lost all contact with the Israeli voter, and in her recent meetings has finally become a satellite that has lost all contact with earth,” a statement from Jewish Home read.
According to sources, Livni “voted in the cabinet in favor of freezing the peace process due to the Fatah-Hamas pact, and then flew to London to contravene the selfsame decision. If she finds it difficult to fulfill the cabinet’s decisions, the exit door is open.”
Thursday’s meeting between Livni and Abbas is the first between Israeli and Palestinian officials since the collapse last month of US-brokered peace talks. The meeting between the two came after reach met independently with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
On Wednesday, Kerry met with Abbas in London for “informal” talks as part of efforts to kick-start peace talks. According to a senior State Department official, “Secretary Kerry made clear that while the door remains open to peace, it is up to the parties to determine whether they are willing to take steps necessary to resume negotiations.”
The meeting between Livni and Kerry was unplanned. American officials said that the meeting was spontaneously put together since both happened to be in London at the same time.
According to Channel 2 News, Livni stressed to Abbas during their meeting the seriousness of his decision to unite with Hamas.
Upon the announcement by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority of a unity pact with the Gaza based Hamas terrorist organization, Israel immediately suspended all peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Livni, who is a part of Israel’s key security cabinet, voted to suspend negotiations with the PA. Israel’s security cabinet voted unanimously to reject further talks with the Palestinians, saying it would never negotiate with any government supported by Hamas.
Livni’s office confirmed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of the meeting in advance. However, Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramowitz quoted anonymous sources close to the prime minister that said Netanyahu “is furious” with Livni’s initiative.
Netanyahu has distanced himself from Thursday’s meeting, reiterating that Livni did not speak on behalf of the government, only herself.