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Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister, quits Israeli politics

Livni's Hatnuah party was not expected to win any seats in Israeli elections in April
'I am leaving politics, but I will not allow the hope for peace to leave Israel,' Livni says (Reuters)

Former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has announced that she is quitting politics, lamenting a lack of effort to achieve "peace" with Palestinians.

A prominent politician who previously served as justice minister and leader of the opposition, Livni said on Monday that "democracy is in danger" in Israel.

"I am leaving politics, but I will not allow the hope for peace to leave Israel," she said during a news conference.

After losing the leadership of the centre-right Kadima Party, in 2012 Livni formed her own centrist Hatnuah party, adopting a dovish tone towards Palestinians and calling for a two-state solution.

Livni's tenure as foreign minister was associated with major conflicts, however.

She was Israel's top diplomat during the 2006 war with Lebanon that led to the death of more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of Lebanese civilians.

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She also played a leading role in the 2008-2009 Israeli offensive in Gaza that killed about 1,400 Palestinians.

While she said peace has become a "dirty word" in Israel, Livni stressed on Monday that the country must separate from the Palestinians in order to preserve itself.

"I have the internal strength to continue fighting, but we don't have enough political power to actualise our vision on our own," Livni said, as reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Livni's resignation comes only a few months before Israeli elections in April. Her Hatnuah party was not expected to win any seats in the upcoming vote, according to public opinion polls.