Livni: Stalemate harming Israel, helping Palestinians

Livni: Stalemate harming Israel, helping Palestinians

Top negotiator warns that fight has moved to UN and world courts, says reaching a permanent accord is a 'national mission'

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Tzipli Livni speaks Tuesday. (photo credit: screen capture/INSS)
Tzipli Livni speaks Tuesday. (photo credit: screen capture/INSS)

The Palestinians are acting in the diplomatic arena and within the legal system, using tactics that Israel won’t be able to fight off with troops on the ground, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday, and warned that reaching an agreement needs to be the country’s “national mission.” 

“What happens outside [Israel] affects us, too. We need to make decisions not only based on what happens in Israel, but also what happens outside of the country,” remarked Livni at the annual gathering of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

As long as there are no negotiations, the Palestinians continue to act in the UN and legal systems around the world… acts that hurt Israel, even if they don’t succeed, Livni added.

A former foreign minister, she has been tasked in the current government with managing talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which have been frozen since 2010.

“The time passing is harmful to those who seek a two-state solution, since we don’t know what will happen in the future, or if there will be someone to talk to and international support for such a move,” continued Livni.

While dealing with economic and other internal issues is important, and even crucial, not dealing with the Palestinian problem will hurt Israel in the long run, she said, hinting at parties within the Knesset — including her coalition partner Yesh Atid — that avoided the diplomatic issue during the January elections.

“Our national mission” is to try to solve the ongoing conflict between us and the Palestinians, she stated.

Livni complimented US Secretary of State John Kerry’s “commitment, resolve and willingness” to act toward a deal. But she reiterated that an interim deal — which, according to some press reports, Kerry is aiming to broker — would not suffice.

“Our interest is to discuss all the core issues during negotiations,” and while implementation will take time and be done in stages, temporary agreements are not a solution, because they ignore the main issues of debate, Livni said.

Israel can’t allow itself to gamble on the identity of those who take control on the other side of the West Bank security fence, which is why the US job as a negotiator that can maintain the security needs is crucial, she added.

“I also have criticism toward the Palestinians and some of their demands,” Livni said, calling on the two sides to “sit and talk like we did in Annapolis” — the 2007 negotiations held when she was foreign minister.

“Negotiating and reaching a deal based on two states for two nations is crucial, and unilateral moves will only hurt the final outcome,” she continued.

“If a balanced plan is put on the table, the international community — including the EU — must make it clear that the Palestinians can’t avoid negotiations and need to talk to Israel,” Livni concluded.

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