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Livni's Diplomatic Powers Fictional, Says Likud Source

Maariv: under terms of coalition agreement, Livni cannot make diplomatic moves without prior knowledge, consent from Netanyahu.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/25/2013, 9:01 AM

Netanyahu, Livni (file)
Netanyahu, Livni (file)
Reuters

While she has been entrusted with responsibility for diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has no real power to create diplomatic moves on her own and is closely supervised by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in this regard, according to Maariv.

Likud sources told the newspaper that Livni "has absolutely no independent authority as regards negotiations with the Palestinians," under the conditions set in the coalition agreement between her party and Likud / Yisrael Beytenu.

The most stringent limitation of Livni's powers in the agreement is the appointment of a "peace chaperone" who will be present in any diplomatic meeting she holds. The man, Attorney Yitzchak Molcho, is a trusted confidante of Netanyahu's.

Livni is also obliged to consult with Netanyahu before and after every diplomatic meeting she holds. In addition, a "diplomatic cabinet" has been established to guide Livni in diplomatic matters. It includes Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Minister of Finance and Trade, Naftali Bennett.

The sources explained to Maariv that these constraints are what convinced Bayit Yehudi, under Bennett, and Yesh Atid, under Yair Lapid, not to object strenuously to Livni's appointment as head of negotiations. The sources revealed that Bayit Yehudi had insisted, during coalition negotiations, that Bennett himself be part of the "diplomatic cabinet," and that this demand was met.

"Livni needed a ladder for climbing down from the tree she had climbed up, after declaring she would not sit in a coalition with Netanyahu, and after all of her statements on the diplomatic matters, so they built something for her that creates a headline, but cannot really enable her to work," the sources added.

According to the report, Livni's confidantes said in response, "The minister is focused on the complex mission she has undertaken in the government, in order to maintain Israel's interests ad advance a diplomatic agenda, and she has no intention of paying attention to political trivia."