Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) on Sunday called for Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to be dismissed from her role as negotiator with the Palestinian Authority (PA), in the wake of her meeting with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in London last week.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Danon said that Livni’s meeting with Abbas, after she voted in favor of suspending peace talks because of the Hamas-Fatah unity pact, dealt a serious blow to Israel’s diplomatic efforts.
He explained that he has been speaking to many United States congressmen as part of an effort to prevent U.S. support of Abbas’s new unity government with Hamas.
“Along comes the Justice Minister and ignores everything, and instead of explaining the official position of the government of Israel, of which she is a part, she behaves like [Meretz chairwoman] Zahava Galon or someone else from the extreme left and produces for Abbas the credibility he needs,” said Danon.
Noting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s clarification from Saturday night that Livni had only been representing herself in the meeting with Abbas, Danon said that while Netanyahu’s announcement was an important one, Livni must nevertheless be removed from her post as chief negotiator.
“We must act to replace her and appoint another Minister to be responsible for the negotiations,” he declared.
"She proved with this meeting that she does not deserve this job. It doesn’t matter what happened during the meeting. The very existence of the meeting while we are working with the Europeans and Americans to hold back funds if there is a Palestinian unity government is problematic,” said Danon.
Livni’s meeting with Abbas was also met with criticism from the Jewish Home party, which compared her in a statement on Saturday night to “a satellite that has lost all contact with the Earth.”
Opposition leader MK Yitzchak Herzog also had criticism - but for Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
"I find it hard to understand what people like Tzipi Livni, Ofer Shelah or Amram Mitzna are looking for in a government in which, according to the Foreign Minister, their main role is to play checkers," Herzog charged.
"The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have proven today that they belong to the bi-national camp and are not even ashamed of it," he said.
"The fact that they publicly declare that Tzipi Livni does not represent Israel shows that they have no more need the fig leaf called Hatnua and that, as far as they’re concerned, the government's nakedness them can be revealed to the whole world," said Herzog.