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Tzipi Livni Could Expose Netanyahu

Israeli politician Tzipi Livni should enter coalition negotiations and position herself to call Prime Minister Netanyahu out on his peace declarations, writes Akiva Eldar.
Israel's Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Foreign Minister and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem February 22, 2009. Right-wing leader Netanyahu on Friday accepted a mandate to form Israel's next government and immediately called for a broad, national unity coalition with centrist and left-wing partners.   REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM)

The citizens of Israel have the right to realize at long last what is hiding behind the peace mask of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And there is only one person who can expose once and for all his true face — Tzipi Livni.

There is not a single political commentator in Israel who believes that on January 23, the day following the upcoming election to the Knesset, Netanyahu will have to pack up his stuff and leave the Prime Minister’s office. The big question of the forthcoming parliamentary election is who's going to sit around the government table next to the ministers of Likud Beitenu. The favorite candidates are the parties known as “the natural partners”: the far-right, nationalist alliance of HaIchud HaLeumi-HaBayit HaYehudi and the ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and Yahadut HaTorah. Most probably, Netanyahu will not make do with this limited list of coalition partners. His first tenure as prime minister (1996–1999) taught him that in order to lead a tough, nationalist political line à la Likud Minister Ze'ev Binyamin Begin, he would have to put on a sheep’s clothing. In his present term in office as prime minister, it was Defense Minister and former leader of the Labor party Ehud Barak who provided Netanyahu with the sheep’s clothing, along with a certification label testifying to its authenticity.

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