Netanyahu Rejects Livni's Call for Unity Government

'We are not joining a failure and we are the alternative to the failure,' Netanyahu told the press.

Likud chairman and opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday publicly rejected the call by Kadima's new chairwoman, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, to join a national unity government headed by her. Speaking at a news conference at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, together with Likud MKs, Netanyahu launched an all-out attack on a future Livni cabinet and its expected coalition with Labor and Shas.

"We are not joining a failure and we are the alternative to the failure," Netanyahu told the press. He also reiterated the Likud argument that "it is inconceivable for a small group of Kadima members to decide for the citizens of Israel." Netanyahu declined to divulge the content of his Saturday-night meeting with Labor chairman Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"We are told that elections will undermine the stability of the government, but the opposite is true. As long as there are no elections there will be no stability. It will be a transitional government constantly preoccupied with its survival," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu sought to play up the difference between Kadima under Livni, who is prepared for territorial compromises, and Likud, which has pledged to keep Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the Western Wall and the Temple Mount under Israeli sovereignty.

MK Silvan Shalom accused Livni of favoring "her chair over ideology," mentioning the period after the Winograd Committee report on the Second Lebanon War, "when she called on Olmert to resign but remained foreign minister. And after Talansky she mumbled something and stayed in the government."

Likud whip MK Gideon Sa'ar said that within the first 24 hours of coalition talks Livni "had broken all her promises." He said she had given in to Shas' demand to restore cuts made to monthly child allowances.