Livni criticizes Obama's sequence for peace talks

In live Q&A, Kadima leader says core issues of conflict must be discussed simultaneously, notes "US only endorses part of what we say."

May 29, 2011 10:15
2 minute read.
Tzipi Livni at a live Q&A session, Sunday.

tzipi livni_311. (photo credit: Idan Gross )


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Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Sunday 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 that all the core issues of the conflict must be discussed simultaneously.

In a question and answer session that was broadcast live on Facebook, Livni came out against Obama's assertion that the refugee issue 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 questions."

She said, "the US only endorses part of what we say and tries to decide for us."

Commenting on Hamas, Livni told students, "A government that tries to be tough on Hamas has harmed our security because of attempts to break the borders and the blockade."

She said it is possible to return to negotiations "without giving legitimacy to Hamas," and noted that "if that happened, we wouldn't have to deal with September."

Earlier, Livni posted a message on Facebook about Egypt's opening Saturday of the Rafah crossing, saying, "We should be concerned when we see Israel's situation deteriorating, not only in theoretical terms, but also in the opening of the Rafah crossing."

By the end of the day Saturday, 450 people had crossed into Egypt from Gaza. Only 23 were turned back because of Egyptian security concerns, a Palestinian border official said.

In an official statement on Facebook, Livni added: "I support holding arguments, preferably within a room, over issues important to Israel. But there are no changes to [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu's words, the only change is in the tune."

"What we saw [after Washington] was that US President [Barack Obama] continued from his meeting with Netanyahu to Western countries, where he also asked for his position to be adopted, a position only opposed by one state," she said.

The Kadima leader was referring to Canada’s position at the Group of Eight meeting in France that led to the elimination of a reference to the 1967 lines in a concluding statement.

According to diplomats, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had insisted that no mention of the 1967 lines be made in the leaders’ final communiqué, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.

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