Daily Israel Report

Livni: Obama's Words Should Be Wake Up Call to All Israelis

After reported criticism from Obama, Livni calls for a "citizens' appeal" to change policies of the administration and avoid isolation.
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 1/15/2013, 2:20 PM

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
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Hatnua party chairwoman Tzipi Livni responded Tuesday to reports claiming that US President Barack Obama said numerous times in private conversations that recent actions by the Israeli government and PM Binyamin Netanyahu give the impression that "Israel doesn't know what its own best interests are."

The aspersion cast on Israel's ability to run its own country is in line with predictions of various pundits who said that once Obama wins a second term, his antipathy to Israel and understanding for the Palestinian Arabs would become obvious.

At a press conference, however, Livni called for a "citizens' appeal" to change the policies of the current Israeli administration and avoid isolation.

"All Israeli citizens should have received a wake-up call this morning." said Livni. "Everybody who has not yet awakened, everyone who still thinks things will be fine -- got up this morning to very sharp and clear statements by the U.S. President who said that the Israeli Prime Minister is leading the State of Israel towards severe isolation."

Livni warned, "If a dramatic change does not occur and those sitting on the fence do not come out to vote -- Israel will continue to be led into isolation which will lead to violence and the impact we are already seeing in the economic situation."

She also said that the relationship between the US and Israel is not one to be tested. "The United States is a key part of Israel's national security," said Livni. "You can like or dislike the President of the United States, but we're talking about our greatest friendship and the security of Israel, so these things should awake every Israeli citizen. This is a wake-up call."

Livni also referred to stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, adding that avoiding negotiations is also leading to further isolation and unilateral moves by the PA.

"It was a very big achievement for the Palestinians at the UN," said Livni. "Unfortunately, it's not good and I think that if there were negotiations we would not have seen them grab a Palestinian state at the United Nations."

"Today we can go back into negotiations without all the preconditions of the last four years. Once Israel initiates this and the world stands with us we will be able to do this," she added.

"As someone who led the negotiations with the Palestinians and was in the negotiation room I can tell you -- it is not impossible. There is no risk to Israel but rather the contrary. The greater risk would be not trying."

Likud campaign chief Gideon Sa'ar responded to the implicit attacks on his party's leader, defending the PM while assuring the Israeli public that Netanyahu, who is slated to be elected prime minister for another term, will be able to balance the tricky relationship the two countries enjoy.

"Netanyahu will know how to work with Obama very well while at the same time safeguarding Israel's interests," Sa'ar said.

"Netanyahu has the edge over all the other candidates in the diplomatic arena too, not just the security and economic spheres," he asserted.