Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has revealed that her Hatnua Party plans to team up with Finance Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party to form a diplomatic front aimed at advancing the stalled peace process with the Palestinians.
"I recently had talks with Yair Lapid," Livni told Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot. "He is of the same mind as me in what I'm saying here."
"In the Knesset [Israel's parliament] session starting next week, we will form one front in the government and in the Knesset on the diplomatic issue," she said.
"One bloc, 25 mandates [Knesset members], together in favor of a diplomatic arrangement, together against the Danny Danonism and against the extreme nationalism," Livni continued, referring to former deputy defense minister Danny Danon, who has spoken out against the notion of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Livni went on to assert that the two parties would also join forces on matters of religion and state.
According to the newspaper, Hatnua representatives Amir Peretz and Amram Mitzna, along with Yesh Atid Chairman Ofer Shelah, hinted that they would quit the government if their respective factions failed to restart peace talks with the Palestinians during the Knesset's winter session.
Livni's remarks came against the backdrop of a looming political crisis sparked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stated intention to prevent passage of the Hatnua Party's controversial conversion bill, which is opposed by ultra-orthodox parties.
Netanyahu, however, has dismissed reports that he was seeking early elections due to tensions within his government coalition that could lead to the collapse of his government.
Livni wrote earlier on her Facebook page that her party would continue supporting the conversion reform bill in the Knesset "with the help of our liberal partners," even if it isn't advanced by the cabinet.
Netanyahu's coalition, formed in the wake of last year's legislative elections, comprises five parties: Netanyahu's Likud (20 seats), Yesh Atid (19), Jewish Home (12), Yisrael Beiteinu (11), and Livni's Hatnua Party (6), making a total of 68 members in the 120-seat Knesset.
Direct U.S.-brokered Palestinian-Israeli talks ground to a halt in April after Israel failed to honor an earlier promise to release a number of Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinian officials now plan to present a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council, which, according to recent statements by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, would seek to achieve a "two-state solution," providing the Palestinians with a sovereign state – with East Jerusalem as its capital – inside pre-1967 borders.