Netanyahu calls his government ‘partner for peace’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu said he would continue to pursue a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The prime minister-designate said his government would continue to be a "partner for peace" during an address Wednesday to a Jerusalem economic conference.

Netanyahu also said he would work to develop the Palestinian Authority’s economy, calling it a "strong foundation for peace."

Netanyahu’s speech to the STEP Jerusalem Wealth Management Conference came less than a day after the Labor Central Committee voted to allow the party to join a Likud-led unity government.

Also Wednesday, Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni told Army Radio that the country’s future can be influenced from the opposition. She said she did not believe that any of her party’s senior members would leave to join the new coalition. Kadima received more votes than Netanyahu’s Likud, but President Shimon Peres invited Netanyahu to form a government, since the right-wing bloc received more votes then the left.

Coalition talks between Kadima and Likud broke down over Netanyahu’s refusal to explicitly promise his support to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian problem.

"Some people enter politics to sit on a chair and inflate their egos, and if they don’t succeed they feel lost," Livni told Army Radio. "I have nothing to do with internal Labor processes, but the public will judge its representatives."

"What we saw yesterday was a lack of public faith in politics," she said. "They talk about the good of the country, but the good of the country, among other things, is restoring the public’s faith in politics, and particularly amid an economic crisis, the public needs trust in the government. Politics is not about saying one thing and doing another."

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