The international community, especially Europe, must pressure Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to directly negotiate with Israel, Justice
Minister Tzipi Livni said on Tuesday.
“It’s the only way to have
negotiations,” she said.
Livni, who is in charge of the peace talks, was
speaking at “Israel: a new reality?” a one-day conference hosted by The Israel
Project at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
“[Abbas] needs to know that
the Europeans, and the world, they want him to sit in the negotiating room, when
there is hope to negotiate and hope to achieve peace,” she said.
countries that supported the Palestinian bid at the United Nations to upgrade
its status to that of a non-member state must give this message to Abbas because
he said the upgrade would strengthen his ability to negotiate with Israel, Livni
She spoke in Jerusalem just one day after meeting with US Secretary
of State John Kerry in Amman
, as part of his intense effort to rekindle the
direct Israeli- Palestinian talks which have been largely frozen since December
“I truly believe that this kind of American involvement is
important to both sides to enter into negotiations soon and I hope we can see,
or open these negotiations in the near future,” Livni said.
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel was willing to make
concessions for peace.
“We’re prepared to compromise for peace, for
genuine peace, this is our most fervent hope to live in peace with our
neighbors,” Netanyahu said in a video taped message to the Global Forum on
anti-Semitism that met in Jerusalem.
Earlier in the day at The Israel
Project conference, Livni explained that Israel’s position has been that talks
should be resumed without pre-conditions.
But if Palestinians insist on
imposing conditions on the resumption of talks, then Israel will similarly
present them with its demands, Livni said.
The Annapolis process, which
took place in 2008, was based on one, simple page with a few lines that said
both sides were entering into negotiations to end the conflict based on two
states, Livni said.
But now there is a complex list of terms, just to
start the negotiations, she added.
“We need to pay more now to re-launch
the negotiations,” Livni said.
Although she could not give details of her
conversation with Kerry about the resumption of talks, she did say that the
Palestinians would prefer to see a map of how Israel envisions the borders of
its state, based on the pre- 1967 lines, before talks begin. They also do not
want a phased agreement or temporary borders.
Israel, she said, believes
the core issues, such as borders, are best addressed in negotiations.
broadly speaking, Israel believes that Palestinian refugees should be absorbed
by a Palestinian state and not Israel. It also wants to retain the settlement
She added that any agreement must address Israel’s security
concerns.Netanyahu, she said, fully supports negotiations
Palestinians, as do some of his coalition partners.
Those who oppose the
talks, such as the Bayit Yehudi party, can tolerate them.
understanding is that [Bayit Yehudi party head] Naftali Bennett is willing to
live with negotiations and this is a window that I can work with for a while,”
The justice minister echoed the words of President Shimon Peres
and said that Abbas can be a partner for the negotiations.
“I’m going to
sign an agreement with someone with signature rights on an empty bank account,
but I need his signature,” Livni said.
Those who support Abbas, she said,
should be careful not to strengthen Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and
cannot be a partner to the talks.
She added that Israel must work with
the international community to delegitimize Hamas, not because they are using
terror, “but because there is no hope for peace with them.”
live side by side with Israel, as an existing state, but they won’t say that
Israel has a right to exist or promise to end the conflict, Livni said.