(photo credit: Idan Gross )
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni spoke out against the sequence for peace talks
that US President Barack Obama outlined in a landmark Middle East address 10
days ago, when she told students at the Rishon Lezion College of Management on
Sunday that all the core issues of the conflict must be discussed
In a question and answer session that was broadcast live
on Facebook, Livni came out against Obama’s assertion that the issues of
refugees and Jerusalem could only be dealt with after borders and security
arrangements are set.
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“We don’t need to delay any issue,” Livni said. “I
think we should be dealing with all the disputes. I am worried when we put the
spotlight on one issue – it raises too many international
Livni expressed concern that dealing with issues one at a
time could change a conflict between nations to a religious conflict.
warned that “religious conflicts are not solvable.”
The rest of Livni’s
criticism was reserved for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who she blamed for
Israel’s international isolation, and for not taking steps to prevent the
Egyptians from opening the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip.
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known that the Egyptians were considering opening the crossings,” she said.
“With all the focuses on the speeches in Washington, couldn’t someone have
demanded that our agreements with Egypt be respected? Did this issue even get
dealt with by the government? The lack of policy is bad for
Commenting on Hamas, Livni told the students, “A government that
tries to be tough on Hamas has harmed our security because of attempts to break
the borders and the blockade.”
Livni said it was possible to return to
negotiations with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, without giving
legitimacy to Hamas.
She said such talks could prevent the United Nations
General Assembly vote on a Palestinian state that is set for
Earlier Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio, Livni called
Netanyahu’s clash with Obama in Washington harmful and superfluous. She said the
only benefit from the dispute was to Netanyahu politically.
over the weekend revealed a rise in support for Netanyahu and his Likud Party at
Livni and her Kadima Party’s expense.
A Teleseker poll in Ma’ariv found
that only 28.3 percent of Israelis were satisfied with Livni’s performance as
opposition leader, while 63.6% were dissatisfied.
The same poll found
that 53.1% backed a national-unity government of Likud and Kadima, and only
37.9% did not want such a coalition. When asked why she was not joining the
government, Livni blamed Netanyahu for not making it happen.
public’s support for unity is a statement of no-confidence in the government of
Netanyahu,” she said. “Kadima can support the government from outside when it
does the right things, and continues to provide a worthy
alternative.”Michal Toiba contributed to this report.
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