Livni says Netanyahu not serious about peace talks

Kadima Party head says PM had repeatedly rejected offers to form a coalition with her party, push forward peace talks.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
June 21, 2011 13:59
2 minute read.
Tzipi Livni at a live Q&A session, Sunday.

tzipi livni_311. (photo credit: Idan Gross )

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not willing to seriously negotiate peace with the Palestinians, said opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni at the closing session of the World Jewish Congress’s annual Board of Governors gathering on Tuesday.

In an impassioned address to the 250 delegates of the global Jewish advocacy group, the Kadima Party head lashed out against the prime minister, saying he had repeatedly rejected offers to form a coalition with her party and push forward peace talks.

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“I offered Netanyahu different coalitions,” she said in an emotional response to a question from the audience. “He doesn’t want them. This is the coalition of his choice, his natural partners. It’s easy to say there is no [Palestinian] partner to talk to.”

Referring to talks she conducted with the Palestinians in 2008 that failed to materialize into an agreement, Livni said her decision to engage in negotiations that touched on Jerusalem was part of her decision to put the country’s favor over her own political gains.

“I was willing to pay political capital [and hold talks],” she said. “I did not leave every meeting saying there was no partner. Nothing was leaked until the Al-Jazeera leaks, but I was not willing to take Jerusalem off the table because I knew this was going to be the end of political discussions.”

She said Israel and the Jewish world need to decide not only what they are against, but what they are for. Failure to do so, Livni warned, would seriously weaken the Jewish state and put its future in peril.

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“It’s not enough to be united against – but we need to decide what we are for,” she said.

“These are historical moments and a decision needs to be made... The goal of every Israeli government should be to keep Israel a democratic, strong state – hopefully in peace.

“But we’re not making decisions, and the result is that we’re going to lose the strength. We need to decide ourselves what is this Jewish state.”

Livni said a two-state solution was “not a favor for the Palestinians, or for the president of the United States” but in Israel’s own best interest.

“The worst decision ever is not to do anything, but it’s not too late,” she said.

Earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Israel can rely only on itself for its security and well-being.

“The most important thing for us is to be strong,” he said.

“We have an international community that is cynical and hypocritical. People who cannot defend themselves will suffer genocides and persecutions.

We’ve seen this in Rwanda and Bosnia, and this is something we must never allow.”

The World Jewish Congress came to a close after three days of meetings. The body nominated Dan Diker, former director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, as its new secretary-general, and passed a resolution reaffirming the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people.

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