Livni: Netanyahu Doesn't Really Believe in Two-state Solution

Opposition chief accuses premier of paying lip service to concept of Palestinian state.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Monday questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a highly anticipated foreign policy address at Bar-Ilan University last month, Netanyahu said he would be ready to agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel, a reversal of the premier's longstanding opposition to a two-state solution.

In remarks to lawmakers at the Knesset, the former foreign minister accused the premier of paying lip service to the concept of a Palestinian state.

"I, like everyone, heard the speech at Bar-Ilan University [in which Netanyahu said Israel would agree to a demilitarized Palestinian state] and I didn't know whether to be happy or not," the Kadima chairwoman said on Monday.

"The prime minister still does not really believe that this is the right path for Israel but he understands that this is the right thing to say," Livni said. "'The world is demanding it, so I have to say it.' This is how Netanyahu explained it to his faction members."

The Kadima-led opposition submitted a no-confidence measure to the parliament on Monday against the government, which recently concluded its first 100 days in office.

Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday that the government has won "broad national consensus" in Israel for the concept of a two-state solution, hailing it as a major achievement of his 100-day-old coalition.

"Netanyahu doesn't really believe that two states, a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, even a demilitarized one, is an Israeli interest," Livni charged on Monday. "But the prime minister was surprised to encounter the outside world and placed Israel, to my great sorrow, in the position of the party that is rejecting peace and then he understood that at this stage he needs to utter the words 'two states'."

The right-leaning coalition has not enjoyed the honeymoon period traditional in politics, Netanyahu said at the beginning of Sunday's cabinet meeting. "I can't say that we had 100 days of grace," he said. "I'm not sure we had even one day of grace."

Speaking on the government's activities since it took office a little more than three months ago, Netanyahu said his cabinet already had a number of outstanding achievements behind it, the main one being the establishment of a national unity government.