Israel's Livni Balks at Joining Unity Coalition

Ad Feedback—JERUSALEM - Israel's Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni says she is not inclined to accept Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's offer to join a coalition government. 

Livni and Netanyahu met Sunday, and have agreed to meet again this week to explore the possibility of a unity government.  Surveys show that a majority of Israelis would like to see the two largest parties work together.

Click to watch the CBN News report followed by Pat Robertson's comments on Israeli politics.

Netanyahu has long argued that the military threats to Israel from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, along with the deepening global recession, make a national unity government necessary. 

"I believe that this is the will of the people that we form a unity government," Netanyahu said.  "In the end, unity will prevail and we will find a common path."

But Livni says the two parties are far apart in their approaches to dealing with the Palestinians.  One source close to Netanyahu said Livni wants a declaration in the coalition guidelines calling for "two states for two peoples," while Netanyahu does not want an explicit reference to a Palestinian state.

"[Sunday's] meeting did not get me closer to sitting in the government or give me the answers I was looking for on the issues that really matter," Livni said.

Netanyahu also met Monday with Labor party leader Ehud Barak, who repeated that his party will join the opposition.

President Shimon Peres selected Netanyahu on Friday to try to form the next government.  He has almost six weeks to build a coalition of at least 61 seats in the 120-member Israeli Knesset [parliament].
If he fails to bring Livni's Kadima party into the government, he is likely to build a narrower coalition on the right with as many as 65 seats.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Ha'aretz

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