IMRA Weekly Commentary..
28 February '13..
I beg to differ with those who assert that there is no significance to the appointment of Livni to negotiate with the Palestinians as part of the deal Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made to bring her Hatnua party into the coalition.
The argument goes that she will be subject to monitoring by representatives of Netanyahu and that in the worst case scenario, Netanyahu could always fire her.
An additional justification of the move is the belief that it is virtually impossible to reach a deal with the Palestinians even if Livni were to overstep her authority and offer concessions similar to or even more generous than those made by Ehud Olmert.
First a word of background about Livni.
It would be a grave error to compare her standing and role to the standing and role DM Ehud Barak held in the last government.
Ehud Barak is a decorated general who has nothing to prove to establish his credentials.
The fact that Livni allows an aura of mystery to surround her Mossad service as an apartment sitter in Paris speaks volumes about the thin credentials she knows she has. Her service as foreign minister was mediocre at best, highlighted by a high profile botched job handing the UN Security Council Resolution that concluded the Second Lebanon War. Yes, she did engage in talks with the Palestinians, but just as she was a Paris apartment sitter for the Mossad, in the case of the talks with the Palestinians, she warmed a seat at the official talks while then PM Olmert engaged in the real negotiations at a different venue.
Livni also has made no bones about her extremely negative views regarding Binyamin Netanyahu in general and his positions vis-a-vis the Palestinians in particular.
And just as important: the Israeli Left absolutely and positively rejects the idea that the Palestinians can be at fault for the failure to reach an agreement and, in turn, is disgusted with any Israeli leader that proves otherwise.
Given the above, from day one in the post of negotiator, Livni will be making every effort to prepare the case that Binyamin Netanyahu is to blame for the failure of the talks.
There are three possible outcomes:
#1. The Palestinians accept her back door concessions and Netanyahu, facing unbearable international pressure orchestrated by Livni, accepts them.
#2. Negotiations fail and Livni will have her staff prepare reams of working papers supporting concessions that Netanyahu refused to approve that will find their way overseas and on the front pages of Haaretz.
#3. Netanyahu fires Livni and she launches a dangerous campaign against Netanyahu and his government.
The odds of a favorable outcome are about as good as the odds that elephants can fly.
And Dumbo only does that in the movies.