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Livni to Conduct Upcoming Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

With a small party in a right-wing coalition, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has only two options if she wants to survive: to ensure that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducts negotiations with the Palestinians in good faith, or to pull out of his government.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), flanked by Tzipi Livni (L), Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians, National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror (3rd L) and Military Secretary Eyal Zamir, speaks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (not pictured) during a meeting in Jerusalem June 29, 2013. Kerry extended his Middle East peace mission on Saturday, shuttling between Jerusalem and Amman for more talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on reviving their stalled negotiations. REUT
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Five years after conducting talks with the Palestinians at the behest of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will return on July 30 to the negotiating table in Washington. In the previous round she was foreign minister and member of a large, powerful ruling party; today, she is justice minister and chairs a small party — Hatnua — imprisoned in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition. Given these worsened conditions, will Livni be able to prove that — unlike former Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Netanyahu’s previous government — she is not simply a diplomatic fig leaf?

To Livni’s regret, this does not depend on her alone. The extent of success in the talks will be determined by others, just as their relaunch was a result of the stubborn efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry. The future of the negotiations depends mainly on Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) and on the political and public backing they each get for a historic peace agreement. The head of the Hatnua Party cannot lead an independent move when she is accompanied to Washington by attorney Yitzhak Molcho, a close associate of Netanyahu and his personal envoy to the talks.

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