by Charles Lemos, Mon Dec 28, 2009 at 07:47:07 AM EST
Kadima, led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, declined the offer to form a national unity government made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the offer "cynical and unrealistic." Last week, PM Netanyahu surprised Livni with an offer to form a broad-based coalition government that would have given Kadima, the largest party in the Israeli Knesset with 28 seats, four unspecified cabinets posts. Netanyahu cited existential threats to the state of Israel in making the offer but most Israeli political observers suggested that the offer was a ploy to hasten the fracture of the centrist Kadima party, the largest opposition party.
More from Al Jazeera:
Kadima, Israel's main opposition party, has voted against joining the ruling coalition after an offer from Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, last week.
Yohanan Plasner, a Kadima MP, said that the offer had been unanimously rejected on Monday by the party's parliamentary group.
"The prime minister's proposal as relayed to the Kadima chairman does not express an honest desire for such partnership," Plasner said.
"A unity government has many advantages, but a national unity should not be an empty expression, but a commitment for a real partnership with a joint vision and principles and an agreed way to materialise these principles," he said.
Tzipi Livni, the Kadima leader, said that Netanyahu's offer was "cynical and unrealistic".
She said that the offer was an attempt to use Israel's international relations issues for "small-time politics", adding such behaviour was "unworthy of the prime minister".
I should note that Livni has been facing an internal party challenge from Shaul Mofaz, the former Transportation Minister in the Olmert government. According to Ha'aretz, Mofaz is backing Livni on the rejection saying that "Netanyahu's offer, as it appears today, is arrogant and unrealistic. This arrogance is not a good quality for a leader; I tell Netanyahu today what I told Livni a few days ago: Arrogance is not a substitute for leadership."
Meanwhile poor Bibi is playing the role of a jilted lover. The Prime Minister's office released a short statement: "Netanyahu was saddened to hear that the Kadima faction, headed by Tzipi Livni, refused his offer and refused to broaden the national unity government. In light of the challenges Israel is currently facing, the prime minister had hoped that Kadima's stance would be different."