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Why does not Israeli former FM ‘Livni’ announce retirement from political life?

Saturday 05/January/2019 - 04:56 PM
Sada El Balad
Rabea Yehea -Sada El-Balad
Throughout her political career، former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni suffered many disdainful strikes، most recent of which was the humiliating announcement by Avi Gabai، Labor Party chairman، to dismantle his alliance with Livni’s Hatnua Party.

The ouster of Hatnua party put an end the Zionist Camp، which presented itself as the real alternative to the Likud ruling party.

At that time، the Zionist Camp managed to secure 24 mandates، including only a few seats obtained by Livni and other members of her party.

The recent period is currently witnessing a clear state of limbo experienced by the former Israeli Foreign Minister، not only due to dismantling the Zionist camp، but also after Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog lost his bid for re-election to head the center-left Labour Party.

Apart from the unfulfilled achievements، Livni، as leader of Kadima in 2009، has actually won one more seat than Netanyahu’s Likud. The party she founded in 2013، Hatnuah، won six seats، out of nothing. And together with Labor، Zionist Union under her joint leadership with Herzog did much better than expected with 24 seats.


The irony is that Livni rejoined Netanyahu's third government following the disintegration of Kadima party in 2012 and established her own party، which won only six seats in the 19th Knesset elections. In contrast، Netanyahu appointed Livni as Justice Minister in December 2013 in addition to assuming her responsible for the diplomatic agenda of the two states and negotiations with the Palestinians.

She، today، heads a party that is not at all certain to pass the vote threshold.


In December 2014، Netanyahu issued a decision to remove her from office due to continues differences.
She، in the same month، decided to ally with Labour Party chairman Isaac Herzog، at that time، to form a alliance of the Zionist camp.

Livni and Isaac Herzog alliance’s ability to secure 24 mandates in 2015 Knesset elections has surprised observers and analysts and posed a real threat to the Likud ruling Party، which won 30 mandates، barely succeeded in forming a narrow coalition with only 61 out of 120 KMs.

All expectations have suggested that Netanyahu and his party would not last for long.

Already in 2017 it was clear that in the Zionist Camp there were two individuals with different agendas، and it was not at all clear how they could work together. While the Labor Party headed by Gabbay abandoned its platform for evacuating the settlements after he was elected in 2017، in an effort to woo the right، Livni declared that this is not the position of the Zionist Camp.

Human relations aren’t Livni’s strong suit. She left many people maimed on her political path and changed political parties four times. She started in the Likud، left in 2005 with then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the new Kadima Party and then in 2012 established the Hatnua Party. In 2015، she joined forces with the Labor Party for the Zionist Camp’s joint list.

No doubt Livni knew how to survive and make use of the popularity she had among the public. But in addition she has also been consistent in her diplomatic platform since she left the Likud: Two states for two people. Livni has not let go of this platform that for years has been identified with the Labor Party، whose leader، former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin، paid for it with his life.

Livni now faces a crisis situation and a difficult dilemma. On the one hand، she was the one who called for alliances in the center-left camp; on the other hand، she is splitting it by adding a party to the race that is uncertain to pass the vote threshold. In addition، she believes that she must try to realize her ultimate goal at any price، and that the public should decide.


What would happen down the road if she continues to tread water in the polls as election day draws near? The estimation is that Livni would try to join forces with Benny Gantz، head of the Israel Resilience Party، or Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid، although neither is excited about her because of her leftist image.

Meanwhile، five parties are operating on the center-left: Labor، Hatnua، Meretz، Yesh Atid and Israel Resilience.

None of them threatens Netanyahu and the Likud. Livni still believes she is the most experienced person in the center-left to be prime minister، as she served as foreign minister and was a member of the senior diplomatic security forums. But not only has she gotten further away from that goal، she finds that the diplomatic banner she has raised and that made her into a strong political brand is now working against her.

Livni، who made the headlines at the local، international and regional levels during her tenure as foreign minister in Ehud Olmert’s government in 2006، has lost her influence on the Israeli political arena، unlike during her presidency over Kadima party.

Livni is currently facing limited options، either to look for an appropriate partner، who accepts joining her fragile party or running for th elections on an individual list.





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