Livni ‘helped foil Abbas peace deal’

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2008 not to sign a peace agreement that Mr Abbas had formulated together with the then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Ms Livni, who is slated to serve as justice minister in the next Israeli government, believed that she would succeed Mr Olmert as prime minister and would then be capable of signing and implementing the agreement.

According to a feature by Ben Birnbaum in the latest edition of New Republic, former US President George W Bush urged Ms Livni to sign the agreement with Mr Abbas before the elections of 2009 and run on it as her platform.

However, she preferred to wait after the elections and, although her party, Kadima, received more votes than Likud, she failed to form a coalition.

The deal set out the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank with a land swap. Mr Olmert agreed to divide Jerusalem along ethnic lines and to accept a limited number of Palestinian refugees back into Israel.

Mr Abbas’s decision not to sign was partly based on his fear that Mr Olmert, facing corruption charges, would not be able to deliver on the deal.

Last updated: 4:45pm, March 14 2013