Livni: PA gov't must recognize Israel

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February 8, 2007 16:58

Attends opening of Sephardic cultural center during visit to Spain.

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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called on the international community Thursday to ensure that Israel's right to exist is respected by any Palestinian government that might emerge from faction talks this week in Saudi Arabia. Speaking in Madrid, Livni said three requirements drawn up by the international community - recognition of Israel's right to exist, adoption of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements and a renouncement of violence and terrorism - were not negotiable and referred "to any future Palestinian governments." "We expect the international community to stick to its own requirements that were stated after the elections which Hamas won," she said. Livni was to hold talks with her counterpart Moratinos and with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Livni also attended Spain's inauguration of a culture institute honoring the Sephardic Jews, settling a debt dating back to their expulsion during the Spanish Inquisition. "Today is a historic day for the Jewish communities, Israel and Spain. With this act we settle a very old debt with Sepharad," said Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. "We're moving on from our own history to confront the present and the future," Moratinos said. The ceremony was attended by ambassadors from around the world. Livni thanked the Spanish authorities for opening the cultural center," Casa Sefarad Israel." She noted the Sephardic Jews expulsion, saying "Spain and the Jewish people share a long history accompanied by light and shadow." Sephardic Jews are those who trace their origins back to Spain before the expulsion. After the Inquisition and the edict Queen Isabella of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon signed in March 1492 expelling the Jews, attitudes in Spain toward Jews and Judaism were characterized by official religious and political hostility. Most Jews either fled Spain after the royal edict or converted to Roman Catholicism.


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