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Tzipi Livni, former Israeli foreign minister wanted for war crimes, retires Open in fullscreen

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Tzipi Livni, former Israeli foreign minister wanted for war crimes, retires

Tzipi Livni has announced she is leaving Israeli politics [AFP/Getty Images]

Date of publication: 18 February, 2019

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At a televised news conference on Monday the prominent Israeli politician announced she was leaving politics, saying 'democracy is in danger'.
One of Israel's most well-known politicians, Tzipi Livni, said she was leaving politics on Monday.

"I am leaving politics but I will not let Israel abandon the hope for peace," the former foreign minister told a televised news conference in Tel Aviv.

"These past years have been hard for me and for the things I believed in," she said. "Peace became a dirty word, and democracy is in danger," citing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of corruption probes against him. 

Livni served as foreign minister from 2006 to 2009, during the war on Gaza in which Operation Cast Lead killed more than 1,400 Palestinians.

The Israeli politician has been accused of overseeing war crimes, and an arrest warrant was issued by a London court in 2009.

Livni's career has foundered in recent years. She first announced her retirement from political life in 2012, after losing the race to become leader of the Kadima party to Shaul Mofaz. She later launched her centrist Hatnua party, but was expected to win no seats in parliament in the upcoming election.

Hatnua, together with the Israeli Labor party, formed the opposition coalition Zionist Union up until January when Labor chief Avi Gabbay dissolved the partnership.

Livni served in eight different cabinet positions throughout her career, setting the record for most government roles held by an Israeli woman, but has been forced to evade official questioning several times while travelling in Europe in recent years 

On one occasion, she cancelled a visit to Brussels, where Belgian prosecutors were planning to question her as part of an ongoing investigation into Gaza war crimes.

A former junior officer in the Mossad intelligence agency, she served in the unit responsible for Operation Wrath of God - a twenty-year series of extrajudicial assassinations launched in retaliation for the 1972 Munich massacre. Her role in the operation has never been revealed.

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