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Will Livni and her 'Peace' Focus have a Spot in the Government?

"I came back and said that peace is not a dirty word," said Livni, whose chance of being asked to join Netanyahu's coalition is still shaky
By Annie Lubin
First Publish: 1/23/2013, 7:19 PM

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
SODAVIDEO

In a speech on Wednesday, Tzipi Livni focused on her party's role in the 19th Knesset, which is still a bit shaky as her chances of being asked to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition are up in the air.

"It's no secret that we entered the race late," said Livni telling supporters that she was pleased with the six seats her party won in the elections but wished she had more of a backing to help push her agenda of a so-called peace process with the Palestinian-Arabs.

Livni's Hatnua party ran on this platform, emphasizing a return to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, a platform, Livni said, "that no one can take from us."

"I came back and said that peace is not a dirty word, that we will take steps to achieve it and we will fight for it. It was never an election slogan but it was our essence and we will continue to strive for it," said Livni.

However, it is still not known whether Livni will be in the coalition or opposition.

Livni had previously announced that she will demand "a heavy political price" in exchange for her willingness to join a Netanyahu-led coalition. She has also declared that Israel needs a government "without Bennett," who differs with her completely on the issue of negotiations with the Palestinians. Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett believes the establishment of a Palestinian state would be a "catastrophe" and argued that it would create a major security issue for Israel.

In regard to the new government that will be formed, Livni said she does not know what kind of government it will be but added, "one thing is clear, we went in with a clear agenda and wherever we will be this will be the agenda we wish to promote."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday that the next government will focus on three main issues, "a greater sharing of the burden (of military service), affordable housing and changes in the system of government." In the brief address, Netanyahu made no mention of stalled negotiations with the PA and what kind of priority this will have in the next government.