Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said in an interview with Channel 2 on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should accede to U.S. President Barack Obama's request that Israel declare a new moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank.

Livni said that she was breaking her silence on the issue because of Netanyahu's failure to advance the direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians that began at the start of September.

Those negotiations have been on hold since Israel's 10-month freeze of West Bank settlement construction expired on September 26.

Netanyahu has thus far resisted international pressure to extend the construction moratorium. Palestinian negotiators have said they will not return to talks while Israeli construction takes place in the West Bank.

Livni said that Netanyahu has chosen conflict with the U.S. because of his fear of clashing with rightist ministers in his government.

Earlier this week, Livni criticized the Netanyahu government for wasting two years before conducting negotiations with the Palestinians.

In a speech at the Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Livni said that Kadima would support Netanyahu in decisions that enable peace talks with the Palestinians to continue.