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Ignoring Threats of Impeachment, Livni Meets with PA Officials

PA sources say Justice Minister has not only met with 'unity' government representatives this week, but has continued contact.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/13/2014, 9:34 AM / Last Update: 6/13/2014, 11:12 AM

Tzipi Livni and Mahmoud Abbas
Tzipi Livni and Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni ignored backlash from last month's meeting with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, Walla! News reveals Friday, and has met once again with Hamas-Fatah "unity government" representatives in London.

Several senior PA officials told the Israeli daily that Livni has, in fact, been in constant contact with government ministers, mainly by telephone. Over the past several weeks, the Minister has allegedly spoken to "intelligence chief" Majed Faraj, head of the negotiating team Saeb Erekat and high-ranking Fatah official Jibril Rajoub.

In her latest meeting, Livni spoke with PA "Foreign Minister" Riyad al-Maliki on the sidelines of an international conference held in London on the subject of war crimes and violence against women in conflict zones. A diplomatic source who was present even revealed to Walla! photo evidence proving Livni spoke to the PA official. 

Among other things, the two officials discussed the failure of negotiations and the possibility of renewing peace talks, but also other issues such as Israel's publishing - and then retracting - building tenders for 1,500 new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian Arab sources stated that it was highly probably that the Justice Minister would meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at some point over the next several weeks.

Livni's office has not responded to requests for comment. 

But reactions are beginning to pour in from frustrated MKs as the news spreads. 

"Livni has forgotten that she is part of a coalition and continues to hold private meetings on foreign policy; she is detached from reality," Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) stated Friday. 

"It is sad to see that she is still adhering to illusions that the PA is a peace partner," he added. "Apparently the magic of Abbas, who torpedoes the negotiations and voted for Hamas, still mesmerizes her." 

Repeat offender

In May, Livni came under fire for holding talks in London with Abbas, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office and ministers distancing themselves from the meeting, insisting it was private and did not signal official intentions to resume talks.

Sources in the prime minister's office said that Netanyahu made it clear to Livni that she would be representing only herself, and not the Israeli government.

The prime minister reiterated that the position of the government, as passed unanimously by the security cabinet, is not to negotiate with a "Palestinian government" that includes Hamas, which he restated is "a terrorist organization that declares its intentions to destroy the state of Israel."

Israel pulled out of peace talks in mid-April, saying it would not negotiate with terrorists. The move came shortly after PA's Fatah leadership signed a unity pact with Hamas, which is committed to destruction of the Jewish state and has threatened Israelis and Jews with genocide

But Livni insisted that the move - which sends a clear message to the international community about Israel's stance on terrorism - was "irresponsible."

"Ignoring the other side, not listening or talking, is irresponsible," Livni insisted. "A resolution is best achieved through direct negotiations, but we can't ignore the agreement between Hamas and Fatah." 

"To all those politicians up in arms, I want to be clear: we'll continue doing what we believe in, and that's what I did last week by meeting [Abbas]," Livni said.