Livni: Israel now at strategic disadvantage

Opposition leader slams PM's conduct in negotiations; says that reaching a peace deal is an Israeli interest, not favor to US.

December 13, 2010 10:23
2 minute read.
Livni close up 311

Livni close up 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)

As a result of the failure in direct peace talks with the Palestinians, Israel is now at a disadvantage in terms of strategy, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said in an interview with Israel Radio on Monday morning.

Livni commented on the new framework presented by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at the Brookings Institution's Saban forum on Friday, saying that "it must be understood that reaching a peace deal is an Israeli interest and not a favor to the US."

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"Only when the current leadership understands that it is in our interest, maybe the priority of reaching an agreement will change," added Livni. "I have no doubt that we are going back in time. To my sorrow, direct negotiations do not exist and Israel today is entering the peace process at a disadvantage in terms of strategy."

As a result of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's conduct, Israel "lost its right to debate in the negotiations and stances that were previously taken for granted as Israeli positions, are now being questioned," Livni explained.

Livni expressed hope that the European Union would not declare unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state and added that the US opposes the move as well.

"The US made it clear, which was good, that unilateral moves are unacceptable and therefore, there must negotiations which will produce results, but to my sorrow there is no vacuum in the Middle East," Livni said. "When a vacuum exists the result is that a program can be in Arabic, in French or in Swedish and finally in American English. This behavior does not represent the Israeli interest and therefore I hope that it does not happen. I really hope the world will give the negotiations a chance."

Regarding her party's participation in the current government, Livni said that Kadima will enter the government only if it can be proved that Netanyahu "is serious in his intentions and is ready to change his goverment."

Livni said that "when Netanyahu needs to choose between a coalition and peace, he prefers his political survival. There is a political majority, a national consensus and a public majority for a [peace] agreement and Netanyahu's political decision indicates his intentions."

Livni also addressed IDF religious conversions, adding that Netanyahu's pact with Interior Minister Eli Yishai not only prevents army conversions, but also the delivery of the common core curriculum.

In addition, Livni commented that that she has learned not to depend on expectations from the Labor party and that its ministers need to explain their vote regarding membership in the current government.

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