US Secretary of State John Kerry's scheduled meeting with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday has been postponed due to the snowstorm which hit the capital, American sources told The Jerusalem Post.
Kerry, who is due to arrive on Thursday, is still expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
Just prior to Kerry's arrival, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that the Palestinians need to understand that their state will be established only if Israel gets security.
Israel, she added, must understand that its choice is between building another house in an isolated settlement and building security for Israel.
“My choice is clear,” she told students at Tel Aviv University. “Peace and security, and not settlements and isolation.”
Kerry is expected to arrive on Thursday afternoon, on the way to meetings in Vietnam and the Philippines. He was scheduled to meet with Binyamin Netanyahu, and is expected to meet with Abbas. It is not clear whether he will meet again with Netanyahu after meeting Abbas, though that has been the pattern in the past.
The talks are once again expected to focus on US security ideas – drawn up by retired US Marine Corps Gen. John Allen – that were presented to Netanyahu when Kerry was here last week, and which deal in detail with the types of security arrangements that will be put in place following an agreement. Israel has said it w0ill accept only an arrangement that allows for an Israel security presence along the Jordan River, something the Palestinians have rejected.
One idea being discussed is for an Israeli presence there for a limited time – perhaps 10 or 15 years.
Livni, during her comments, said Israel’s relations with the US were good, and that the administration understood Israel’s security needs.
The Americans need to understand that “we are capable of making a decision that will lead to two states,” she said.
This process “will be gradual, and its implementation will be gradual,” she said.
Livni said Israel would not allow a situation that would result in Judea and Samaria becoming a “replica of Gaza.”
Those in Israel who are not interested in a two-state solution frequently evoke the concept of “Israeli security,” and when they say security “we all immediately unite together, she said.
“Yes, we live in a tough neighborhood,” Livni said.
“We left Gaza and received a difficult security reality. But I want to make it clear, when we speak of peace it is not in the place of security, but rather as an integral part of Israel’s security concept. Israel’s security will be the principal part of any future diplomatic arrangement.”
Livni continued that Israel’s security was enhanced when the IDF had international legitimacy to act.
“Israel is more secure when it achieves normalization with the countries of the Arab League, and when schoolchildren will not learn to hate Israel, but rather about being neighbors,” she said.
The one thing that was hurting Israel’s effort to enlist the world around security arrangements was the “irresponsible” announcement of continued construction in the settlements, particularly the isolated ones, Livni said. Bayit Yehudi was vetoing peace by preferring the isolated settlements to settlement blocs, and by preferring “isolated settlement over a Jewish democratic state,” Livni said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin responded to Livni’s comments, issuing a statement saying it was a shame she was trying to “rehabilitate herself politically with left-wing voters” and preferred to “join the chorus of those outside attacking us rather then defend the national and security interests of Israel and represent the government she is a part of.”
Livni, he said, “should learn from her past mistakes and those of other leaders of the Left,” adding that the public long ago lost faith in the illusion that concessions brought peace and security.
“The path that Livni recommends means we will have to say goodbye to our security,” Elkin said.