livni - Emil Salman - August 3 2011
Tzipi Livni Photo by Emil Salman
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Opposition leader and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni sharply criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government on Wednesday, saying that it has led Israel to the "worst possible diplomatic situation".

Livni said that while the Netanyahu government speaks of national pride, Israeli ambassadors are being forced to flee countries in the middle of the night wearing kaffiyehs.

"The most right-wing government in Israel's history has led it to the worst possible diplomatic situation," Livni said. "[The government] talks tough but it has weakened Israel to the point that it cannot act when missiles are falling on its residents."

"People must ask themselves, after all the slogans, if Israel today is stronger or weaker," Livni said. "Is Israel's security better or in greater doubt?"

"The only way to protect Israel's interests is through a diplomatic process," Livni said. "I've been there. I've protected the interests that government ministers are talking so passionately about."

Meanwhile, Netanyahu will convene a meeting of his eight senior ministers on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the serious deterioration in relations with Turkey as well as the diplomatic and legal campaign Turkey is planning against Israel in the near future. Israel intends to calm the situation as much as possible, but the cabinet members are also due to consider steps Israel could take in response to the Turkish sanctions in the event the situation worsens.

The meeting of the senior cabinet members follows discussions at the Foreign Ministry and in the IDF regarding the crisis with Turkey and its implications. The eight ministers are expected to be given a briefing on the situation from the heads of the intelligence community and the Foreign Ministry regarding additional potential scenarios if the situation escalates.

Both the Foreign Ministry and the defense establishment are interested in trying to head off an additional deterioration in relations with Turkey. Senior Foreign Ministry officials have noted that they will recommend steps to reduce the tension.