Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that she is aiming, in her current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, to reach a final-status agreement to end the Israeli-Arab conflict.
In an interview to mark the The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya on October 24, at which she will be a featured speaker, Livni said she had not changed her negotiating tactic from her previous talks with the Palestinians, which ended in 2008: There is no deal on anything until there is a deal on everything.
She denied repeated accusations by Likud deputy ministers Danny Danon and Ze’ev Elkin that she is working on achieving an interim agreement with the PA that would create a Palestinian state in temporary borders.
“My goal is an agreement that will end the conflict and all claims for both sides,” she said. “I have never used the term ‘interim agreement.’” Livni explained that a partial agreement would not work with the negotiating tactics used by both sides in her talks with the PA.
She said there could not be give and take if it is not clear that all issues will be resolved in the process.
“These tactics maintain our interests in the negotiating room,” she said.
Livni declined to comment on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, which leftwing groups and politicians said did not include a firm-enough commitment to advance talks with the PA. She said she preferred cooperating with Netanyahu privately to judging what he says publicly.
“If there wasn’t hope of achieving peace, I wouldn’t be doing this,” she said. “I don’t want to raise false expectations. There has been a lack of confidence in the diplomatic process for years. Having low expectations can be advantageous. But I see we are generating hope and people are crossing their fingers for us.”
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely said that if Livni’s intention in denying that she was seeking an interim deal was to ease the fears of her coalition colleagues on the Right, what she told the Post had only the opposite effect.
“I am scared because going for the whole pot is the most dangerous approach,” Hotovely said. “US pressure could make Israel give up everything without the Palestinians declaring an end to the conflict.”
Speaking at a right-wing rally at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, Hotovely advised Netanyahu to hold strong and not to give the Palestinian leadership the benefit of the doubt any more than he gives to the leaders of Iran. She paraphrased his UN speech to make her case.
“The Palestinians are also wolves in wolves’ clothing,” she said. “But they are fooling the world. They don’t want peace and peace can’t be made with them.”
Held under the banner “build more communities in Judea and Samaria,” the “One State for One People” rally featured calls by politicians and rabbis to get involved in stopping the prime minister from withdrawing from territory.
“To balance all the leftwing pressure Netanyahu is under from the official Left and the unofficial Left in the media and the legal establishment, the prime minister needs pressure from you,” Bayit Yehudi MK Orit Struck told the packed auditorium.
Flyers were distributed at the event by Mattot Arim organization, warning of the dangers of an interim agreement with the Palestinians.
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika called US President Barack Obama a villain. He complained that so-called price-tag incidents of vandalism against Arabs were overplayed in Israel and around the world.
“We didn’t return to our land to give parts of it to our enemies, but to build it and be built by it,” said former MK Rabbi Haim Druckman.
“If we dedicate our souls, we will merit the assistance of God.”
After three ministers canceled their participation in the event, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett made a surprise appearance and spoke about the connection of the Jewish people to their land.
He was heckled on his way out by activists who accused him of betraying the land of Israel.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.
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