Benjamin Netanyahu appoints Tzipi Livni to his coalition government


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The Independent Online

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated a change of policy towards the Palestinians yesterday when he appointed the dovish former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to his coalition government.

The peace process has stalled during the last four years of Netanyahu’s tenure, but bringing in Ms Livni suggests that the Israeli line is softening. Ms Livni, who as the leader of the Kadima party, won most seats in the 2009 election but she was unable to form a government. She will serve as Justice Minister with special responsibility for the peace talks.

The appointment is the first since Israel’s general election last month. Mr Netanyahu is thought to favour a broad coalition but a number of smaller parties which are potential coalition partners disagree strongly on a number of issues.

Ms Livni’s appointment comes a month ahead of a visit to Israel and the West Bank by Barack Obama. His arrival has increased hopes of a breakthrough in the moribund peace process.