Netanyahu Threatened to Fire Livni Over Meeting With Abbas

PM was furious with Livni for going against Israeli cabinet's policy to cease negotiations following Hamas-Fatah unity deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in 2013.
Hatnuah party's leader, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2013. Olivier Fitoussi

Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni nearly lost her job after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London last week, the first meeting between the two since the April 29 breakdown of the latest round of peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threat to fire Livni was first reported by Ma'ariv journalist Ben Caspit. He quoted sources saying that the prime minister had only found out about the meeting after the fact and was furious with her for going against Israeli cabinet policy to cease negotiations following the Hamas-Fatah unity deal.

This contradicts a previous report that Livni had briefed Netanyahu on her plan to meet Abbas more than 24 hours before the meeting took place. A senior official at the Prime Minister's Office said at the time that Netanyahu stressed to Livni that she would be "representing only herself and not the Israeli government" since the cabinet decided to suspend negotiations with the Palestinian Authority following the reconciliation agreements between Hamas and Fatah.

According to the report in Ma'ariv, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid urged Netanyahu to reconsider firing Livni, warning that it could bring about the government's dissolution.