Tzipi Livni’s return divides opinion

Tzipi Livni’s imminent appointment — providing Benjamin Netanyahu can form a coalition — as minister in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians hardly means that peace is about to break out. For a start, a strategy for talks is yet to be agreed. At the press conference with Ms Livni, Mr Netanyahu would not even reaffirm the principles of his 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech in which he accepted the two-state solution.

Furthermore, until there is a clearer picture of the government’s make-up, there is no way of knowing how much leeway she will have with her Palestinian counterparts.

Neither is it a given that she will have someone to talk to: the PA is still demanding a freeze on settlement building before a return to talks, a demand it is hard to see the Likud government acceding to. Ms Livni’s critics are attacking her for “selling out” for a cabinet post devoid of substance. Her supporters answer that in her other new roles as justice minister and chair of the government’s legislative committee, she will be in a position to block “undemocratic” laws.

Last updated: 4:41pm, February 21 2013