Livni: Peace talks not easy, but right thing to do

Hamas: Abbas lacks the legitimacy to negotiate for Palestinians.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
July 20, 2013 01:13
2 minute read.
Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni 370. (photo credit: Courtesy The Tzipi Livni Party)

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Friday that she is positive that relaunching peace talks with the Palestinians is the best course of action for Israel.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced earlier Friday that Israel and the Palestinians have laid the groundwork for renewed direct peace talks, some three years after the previous attempt at negotiations fell apart. 

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"I am convinced with all my heart that it is the right thing to do for our future, our security, our economy and the values of Israel," Livni wrote on Facebook. "I know that as soon as the negotiations start, they will be complex and not easy," she also wrote.

Livni and senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will travel to Washington DC next week to commence talks, Kerry said in his announcement from Amman, Jordan.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid also claimed to support renewed direct peace talks, when he told Channel 2 on Friday: "There is a solid majority in this cabinet for going to negotiations."

Meanwhile, an anonymous Israeli official told Reuters on Friday that the new Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, if resumed, would take months.

"We are talking about months, both to ensure the process is substantive and comprehensive, and to get us past September," the official said.

The official was referring to the annual UN general assembly in September, where the Palestinians had, in the absence of direct diplomacy, considered lobbying for recognition of their claim of statehood.

Meanwhile, Yesh Atid MK Ronen Hoffman also hailed the renewal of peace negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

"I would like to praise the resumption of talks without preconditions," he said.

"As someone who has led diplomatic negotiating teams in the past, I would recommend that we not lower expectations as is custom, since this isn't right for Israel."

"Both sides need to determine specific goals and strive to reach them," he said.

Also on board, Meretz MK Issawi Freij welcomed Kerry's initiative, but warned not to have illusions in terms of the realities of the peace process.

Freij urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to finally put an end to "childish blame games [between Israelis and Palestinians]," and to "look beyond himself and his settler friends in order to close this story."

Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior member of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, also reacted to the US secretary of state's initiative, saying,  "the announcement today did not mean the return to negotiations. It meant efforts would continue to secure the achievement of Palestinian demands ... Israel must recognize the 1967 borders."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's own authority is also being questioned; while his US-backed administration holds sway in the West Bank, its rival governing body in Gaza, Hamas, denounced Abbas's credit in his representation of the Palestinian people, when it comes to peace talks.

"Abbas does not have the legitimacy to negotiate on fateful issues on behalf of the Palestinian people," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.


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