Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union addresses attendees at the “Haaretz Q: with New Israel Fund” event at The Roosevelt Hotel in the Manhattan borough of New York City, December 13, 2015. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly.

Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni ferociously criticized the Netanyahu government on Saturday, saying that it has adopted a secret policy of keeping the terrorist group Hamas in power in Gaza.

According to Israel’s Channel Two, Livni said of the government, “It is difficult for them to conduct negotiations while aware of the concessions that must be made, therefore they prefer Hamas instead of strengthening the moderates,” an apparent reference to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank.

Livni added that the government has moved from a declared policy of toppling the Hamas regime to a secret one of “using the Hamas regime.”

The government did so, she said, because “it prefers a Hamas regime … to a larger process that would also include the legitimate Palestinian Authority.”

As a result of this, Livni asserted, the government “conducts a dialogue with extremist terrorists and at every public opportunity tells the Israeli public why the pragmatic elements who at least speak openly about two states are the ‘real enemy.’”

Netanyahu’s Likud party struck back at Livni almost immediately, saying in a statement, “We call on Tzipi Livni to show responsibility and stop serving as the spokeswoman for Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), who pays huge salaries to the murderers of Jews and tries to ignite a new war in the south by economic strangulation of the residents of Gaza,” referring to economic sanctions leveled by Abbas against Hamas.

Livni’s office issued a ferocious response to the Likud’s statement, saying, “It’s worthwhile for the Likud, which collaborates with Hamas, transfers money and pays salaries to terrorist organizations whose reason for existing is to murder Jewish children — not to preach morality. Whoever prefers those who send martyrs, they should be quiet. Only the Likud could release thousands of terrorists, maintain them, and call those concerned with Israel’s security traitors.”

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