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Negotiations expose differences between Netanyahu and Livni

Differences are about to emerge between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, according to Israeli newspaper Maariv. Livni is currently leading the negotiations with Palestinian officials, and her approach has reportedly "deviated from the official line" during the past two sessions.

US-sponsored negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides resumed in mid August after a freeze that had lasted for years.

On Monday, the Hebrew paper reported that Netanyahu's dissatisfaction has grown after it was revealed that Livni offered concessions and gave up land during unofficial meetings with Palestinian negotiators and American mediators away from the official sessions.

It added that the gap has also grown wider between Livni and Netanyahu's envoy to the negotiations Yitzhak Molcho. Whereas Livni prefers working with a large team toward reaching a final settlement, Molcho still sees this as unrealistic and instead prefers reaching "an agreement on principles" over key issues first, and then applying these to an official agreement at a later stage, thus going through a number of phases before adopting a final settlement.

However Maariv's analyst sees the problem between Livni and Molcho as deeper than this: the problem is the extent to which Netanyahu trusts Livni and her ability to manage a team of negotiators.

Middle EastNews
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