(photo credit: AP)
Israel cannot divulge information on what the country is willing to give up before the beginning of negotiations with the Palestinians because it will weaken the country's stance, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Saturday, rejecting a proposal made by Vice Premier Haim Ramon.
Livni called for decisive action - not necessarily military action - in the Gaza Strip. She called for a move that "would deliver a message to the population which embraces terrorists. Dialogue with moderate individuals in the Strip does not result in short-term solutions, and the presence of the terror which has taken over the area is likely to bear fruit," the minister told Army Radio on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Livni said that recent talks between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have opened a window of opportunity for positive development between the two peoples.
"We must take advantage of the fact that we really have a government with which we can arrive at a dialogue. The aim is not to [solely] achieve a documented [agreement], but rather to advance mutual interests. We must remember that there exists a rift between the desires of the Palestinian government and the actual implementation of them," said the minister.
"We cannot discuss the principles of negotiations; if we reveal what we are ready to sacrifice, we will enter negotiations in a worse state," argued Livni. "What we can say is that we want a two-state solution for two nations.
Asked whether the government was planning to step up its fortification of Sderot and the IDF's Zikim base following ongoing rocket attacks, Livni said that "nobody has a magical solution, but either way, there are certain actions that the government must take. It is the government's responsibility to ensure the security of its citizens.
"We left Gaza with the aim of allowing the Palestinians to begin conducting themselves in a positive manner - something that did not occur because terror took over. Secondly, [we left] so that we would no longer have to be responsible for not only the security issues, but also for humanitarian and financial issues, so that we could arrive at a point where we could announce the end of the occupation - all of which did not happen because we still find ourselves at a point where we are perceived as responsible for what is going on there."
Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported on Saturday evening the Cabinet would not discuss the proposed release of Palestinian prisoners during Sunday's weekly meeting.
The government was expected to approve the release of 100 detainees in honor of the Muslim month of Ramadan.