Livni: Israel must advance peace talks to help Iran deal

“Solving the conflict with the Palestinians would enable a united front with Arab countries against Iran,” Justice Minister says.

November 26, 2013 01:00
2 minute read.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Israel should take steps to advance the diplomatic process with the Palestinians in order to ensure the best possible deal between the world’s leading countries and Iran, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni suggested at a peace conference in the Knesset on Monday.

Livni pointed out that the six months in which the P5+1 countries will be negotiating a permanent accord with Iran are, not coincidentally, the same period left in the nine months US Secretary of State John Kerry allocated for talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

She said that rather than complain about the interim deal reached with Iran in Geneva, Israel can help get a better deal by doing its part in the peace talks.

“I suggest that we stop whining because of what was signed in Geneva and use the six months to make sure Iran doesn’t fool the world into enabling a final-status deal that would be dangerous for Israel,” said Livni, “and to reach a significant breakthrough on two states for two peoples that will be good for Israel.

“Continuing serious peace talks can allow the Arab world to put its conflict with Israel aside to cooperate on Iran,” she said. “Solving the conflict with the Palestinians would enable a united front with Arab countries against Iran.”

She said that during the next six months, Israel should work to strengthen its strategic alliance with the United States. She also suggested a political bond with the Labor Party on diplomatic issues.

Livni said she was glad new opposition leader Isaac Herzog defeated Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich in the party’s leadership race, because it proved Yacimovich was wrong to abandon the diplomatic issue. The Hatnua Party leader said an ideological alliance with Labor would send a pro-peace message to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while countering the bond between Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi she said was harming Israel by sanctioning West Bank construction and causing friction with the US.

Herzog has spoken about building a Center-Left bloc that could challenge the Likud in the next election. He criticized Netanyahu for sowing unnecessary panic on the Iran issue while burning bridges with the Obama administration.

“Isolation will not benefit the people of Israel,” Herzog said at the conference. “It is imperative and essential that we leave no stone unturned on the path to peace. Right now there is a historic opportunity. The fact is that there is a moment of willingness on the part of the rest of the world, that makes a historic breakthrough for peace possible.”

The conference’s organizer, Labor MK Hilik Bar, who heads the Knesset’s two-state caucus, challenged Netanyahu to make peace.

“I heard Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accuse the Palestinians by saying that ‘there is no Palestinian Ben-Gurion,’” Bar said. “I ask him: Do we have an ‘Israeli Ben- Gurion’ these days, or is there even another Israeli Menachem Begin? Will Netanyahu do as Begin did, and rally the Right and the Left in order to produce a historic peace agreement? Will he be a statesman and a leader or a politician and leader of the narrow Right?”

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