Often portrayed as an advocate for peace and the two-state solution, the former Israeli opposition leader Livni is accused of war crimes against Palestinians.

Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister, quits politics.
Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister, quits politics. (Reuters)

The most powerful woman in Israeli politics since Golda Meir announced an end to her political career on Monday.

Tzipi Livni—a foreign minister from 2006 to 2009 and justice minister from 2013 to 2014—made the announcement just seven weeks before parliamentary elections. At a press conference, she said: "I am withdrawing from political life, and the movement I lead will not be taking part in the next elections.”

Livni said her centre-left party Hatnua (Movement) "does not have enough political weight to go it alone”.

She was the party’s co-founder and its leader in 2012. Her party entered the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in 2015 through a joint electoral list with the Labour Party - named the Zionist Union - and became the second-largest parliamentary group.

Thanks to the alliance, Livni became the main opposition leader. However, the Labour Party’s leader Avi Gabay announced it would not run with Hatnua for 2019.

Famous two-state advocate or war criminal?

Livni used to be a deputy in the Knesset for the Likud party from 1999 to 2005 - the party of the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

After joining the Kadima Party in 2005 - a party started by former Likud members and led by Ariel Sharon - she became foreign minister under former prime minister Sharon.

The Israeli operation in Gaza kicked off in 2008, taking place when she was in charge of the foreign ministry. The UN said there was clear evidence of war crimes and appealed for Israel to investigate the matter.

In a 575-report, the UN called Israel’s military assault on Gaza: “A deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorise a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.”

Ushers scuffle with members of the Joint Arab List who are holding signs in protest ahead of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset, Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem January 22, 2018.
Ushers scuffle with members of the Joint Arab List who are holding signs in protest ahead of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset, Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem January 22, 2018. (Reuters)

In response, Livni asked: “Is there a humanitarian crisis? There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza."

She has been quoted saying that “Israel has been supplying comprehensive humanitarian aid to the [Gaza] strip”.

In December 2009, British lawyers sued the politician, and a court issued an arrest warrant for Livni in the name of Palestinian victims in the UK for “war crimes”. Livni had to cancel visiting the UK until the warrant was revoked the same month.

Livni is known for her two-state solution advocacy. A solution “that ensures Israel's security and identity as a Jewish and democratic state”. But, as she said 2010, the two-state offer is “the only way to keep Israel Jewish and democratic”.

The two-state solution takes courage

Livni’s view of a two-state solution, she said “not a favour to the Palestinians”, but for the sake of “Zionists who want to maintain their identity”.

An Al Jazeera analysis from 2009 revealed that no Israeli leader is “ready to take the risk” for a peace process.

Yitzhak Rabin, a former Israeli PM, was assassinated at a peace rally in 1995 over his stance on a two-state solution.

More than 20 years later Livni warned that “democracy and peace is in danger in Israel”.

Source: TRT World