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Netanyahu, Livni rethink teaming up to form Israeli government coalition

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni are taking another look at teaming up in a governing coalition, according to media reports Friday.

An alliance would give the incoming government stronger international support because of Livni's commitment to establishment of a Palestinian state.

The reports emerged as Netanyahu appeared on the verge of forming a narrow government with ultranationalist and religious parties that would take a harder line on concessions to the Palestinians than Livni's Kadima Party has.

Livni said after her last round of coalition talks with Netanyahu two weeks ago that Kadima would not sit in a coalition that was not committed to negotiations on Palestinian statehood. She also has said that she would join Netanyahu's government only if he let her serve as prime minister for half of the government's four-year term. Netanyahu rejected the proposal.

A Netanyahu spokeswoman said Friday that the two camps "exchanged messages through intermediaries." She wouldn't discuss the messages' content.

Teaming with Livni would blunt the hawkish edge that a narrow coalition would have and give the incoming government a stable parliamentary majority. Without Kadima, Netanyahu appears able to muster the parliamentary backing of no more than 65 lawmakers in the 120-seat Parliament. That means virtually any of his partners would be able to bring down his government in a dispute, as happened during his first term as prime minister in the 1990s.

A centrist government with Livni also would help Netanyahu avoid a clash with President Obama, who has promised to become "aggressively" involved in pursuing Mideast peace.

Netanyahu has until April 3 to piece together his government.

U.S. demonstrator hurt during clash

An American demonstrator was critically wounded Friday in a clash between protesters and Israeli troops over Israel's West Bank separation barrier. Tristan Anderson of the Oakland, Calif., area was struck in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops, said peace activists with the International Solidarity Movement. The protest took place in the West Bank town of Naalin.

Netanyahu, Livni rethink teaming up to form Israeli government coalition 03/13/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:49pm]

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