Officials of the Jewish Home party have been told that Tzippy Livni has been given exclusive rights to conduct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and to make recommendations for negotiated agreements to the Prime Minister and security cabinet. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave Livni the exclusive rights to do run negotiations on behalf of Israel as part of the price for her agreeing to include her six Knesset members in the coalition he is trying to form.
Jewish Home officials were told of the deal after they questioned what Livni's position and status in the government was. According to information received by Arutz Sheva, Livni will be assigned a negotiating team of Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu MKs to run the negotiations with her. However, Livni's communications channel to the PA will be the only one Israel has; neither Netanyahu nor his future Foreign Minister will be allowed to conduct negotiations outside of her framework, the deal with Livni says.
Political sources across a wide range of parties, both left and right, stressed that this was the first time a Prime Minister has surrendered his negotiation rights to an underling. In effect, the deal makes Livni Foreign Minister, the sources said.
In past administrations, the concept of parallel negotiation teams was fully accepted. A parallel team not directly sponsored by the government carved out the Oslo Accords with the PA in 1993, with full knowledge of then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. During Ehud Olmert's term, he had at least two negotiating teams working with the PA, including an official one managed by his Foreign Minister, Livni.
Sources in Jewish Home told Arutz Sheva that the exclusivity clause given to Livni is one of the major stumbling blocks to the party's entering a Netanyahu government. Officials in the party said last week that they could not join a coalition in which Livni was in charge of such issues.
With that, discussions took place between Netanyahu representatives and Jewish Home MKs Sunday, and further meetings are expected in the coming days.