(photo credit: Idan Gross )
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
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
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.
“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.
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.
decision ever is not to do anything, but it’s not too late,” she
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.