JERUSALEM – Israel’s hard-line prime minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, promised Sunday to work with the United States to promote peace in the region as he sought to forge a moderate government with his chief rival – but did not reach a deal.
Netanyahu’s meeting with the moderate Tzipi Livni was intended to persuade her to ally with him in forming a new government and avoid an unwelcome alliance with ultra-nationalists to his right.
But after their meeting, Livni said the two were still at odds regarding talks with the Palestinians.
“We didn’t reach any agreement. There are deep disagreements on this issue,” she said.
Netanyahu said he and Livni found many points of agreement and their disagreement could be “overcome with goodwill.”
“If we want to find what unites us, it is possible and it is necessary at times like these,” he said.
Both said they agreed to meet again soon.
Netanyahu, of the Likud party, is expected to extend Livni’s Kadima party a generous offer that includes allowing her to remain as foreign minister.
While Livni supports the formation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Netanyahu does not. He has championed an “economic peace” with the Palestinians as an alternative and supported West Bank settlement expansion that has irked Palestinian leaders.