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      Livni: Bayit Yehudi a Threat to Israel-PA Talks

      Hatnua head accuses Bayit Yehudi of threatening Israel-PA talks, asks Labor to ‘be responsible’ and take its place.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 11/3/2013, 8:20 AM

      Tzipi Livni
      Tzipi Livni
      Flash 90

      Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israel-Palestinian Authority diplomatic talks, has directly accused the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party of threatening the talks’ success.

      Livni’s Hatnua faction and Bayit Yehudi are both partners in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

      According to Livni, Bayit Yehudi was foisted on Netanyahu by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party. Lapid and Bennett made a pact during coalition talks to enter the coalition together or not at all.

      She urged the Labor party to join the government so that Bayit Yehudi would lose its power. “If in the past there was no chance and no point in joining the government, well, now there’s an opportunity that we’re likely to miss because of the coalition make-up that Lapid forced on us when he brought Bayit Yehudi into the government,” she told Labor party activists at a meeting in Nesher in northern Israel.

      “I hope that after the primaries Labor will do what is necessary and responsible – and will join the government and help us bring the diplomatic process to the point of an agreement, and to two states for two peoples,” she urged.

      Bayit Yehudi expressed strong opposition last week to Livni's agreement to release 26 terrorists as a gesture to the PA. The party's criticism was met by harsh criticism from Hatnua, which accused it of being extremist and undermining talks.

      Labor party head MK Shelly Yechimovich recently said she would consider bringing her party into the government, but only if Bayit Yehudi leaves due to “a diplomatic agreement that is truly on its way to implementation.”

      Yechimovich has said since the first days of the coalition that she plans to save Netanyahu’s government if Bayit Yehudi leaves over concessions made in talks with the PA. Either Labor or the Shas party could give Netanyahu a majority coalition in Knesset if Bayit Yehudi stepped down.