Talks with PA not just a favor to the US, Livni says
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Talks with PA not just a favor to the US, Livni says

We must reach a deal lest a Palestinian state be forced upon us, minister tells conference; Abbas calls to boycott settlements

Saeb Erekat (left), with John Kerry (center), and Tzipi Livni at a July 2013 press conference in Washington, DC, relaunching peace talks. (photo credit: AP/Charles Dharapak)
Saeb Erekat (left), with John Kerry (center), and Tzipi Livni at a July 2013 press conference in Washington, DC, relaunching peace talks. (photo credit: AP/Charles Dharapak)

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday warned that the failure of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would lead the international community to force the establishment of a Palestinian state upon Israel.

Speaking to a World Jewish Congress conference in Jerusalem, Livni, who is the chief Israeli negotiator in talks, said Israel should see the attainment of peace with the Palestinians as its own best interest, and not just as a favor to the US.

In a tacit nod to the fact that US Secretary of State John Kerry exerted a fair amount of pressure on the two sides to restart their long-stalled negotiations, she noted that Israel’s strength comes from its close ties with the US as well as from its military.

Livni’s comments followed reports of an impasse in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which have allegedly reached a stalemate over such core topics as future borders. Speaking to the UN’s Security Council on Tuesday, the Palestinian envoy to the US said that “hopes are diminishing.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, declared Tuesday that he would be ready to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu for direct peace talks. Abbas’s declaration echoes one made by Netanyahu over the summer, in which the prime minister said he would negotiate for “as long as it takes to work out a solution of peace and security between us and the Palestinians.”

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, Abbas called on European companies to cut off contacts with Israeli companies operating in the West Bank, but stressed that his aim was to target settlements, not Israel.

Abbas said new European Union guidelines restricting business over the Green Line were of “crucial importance.”

On Monday, Lithuania, which holds the EU presidency, said settlements were harming the peace process.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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