Livni, Lapid dismiss Abbas plan

Ministers call for negotiations, diplomatic process, say unilateral steps are not the path to achieve lasting agreement.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a news conference in Egypt (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas talks during a news conference in Egypt
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Cabinet ministers said PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to pressure Israel to evacuate the West Bank highlighted the need to continue the diplomatic process.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni posited on Monday that the Palestinian Authority leader’s shift toward unilateral steps is a public relations move.
“The Palestinian public loves ‘resistance’ very much, so Abbas is there too, but I assume he’ll try to take diplomatic steps,” Livni told Walla News.
Livni warned that Abbas “will have to understand a Palestinian state will not be established in UN institutions.
“Whatever the Palestinian people can achieve, they can achieve in the negotiating room.
We need a comprehensive diplomatic process,” she stated.
Similarly, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said there should be a diplomatic process, in an interview with Army Radio.
“Recent weeks reminded us why we should separate from the Palestinians – we don’t want to live with them – and why it’s better to have an agreement, not unilateral steps,” he stated in an apparent reference to the 2005 disengagement from Gaza.
Lapid criticized “voices saying we should just manage the conflict.”
“I’m not one of those,” he said. “We deserve hope.”
Lapid repeated his plan to hold a regional summit that would ensure that Gaza is demilitarized in exchange for its rehabilitation by donor countries, which are holding a meeting in New York on September 22.
“If we don’t have a regional summit, Gaza will be rebuilt without us getting anything.
That is not right and not logical,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for Liaison with the Knesset Ofir Akunis said of Abbas’s plan: “No nation gives up on its homeland, and Judea and Samaria is the cradle of the Jewish homeland.”
According to Akunis, evacuating to pre-1967 lines would be “national suicide,” and the disengagement from Gaza proved that such moves do not bring peace.
“The chance that [Abbas’s plan] will happen is similar to the chance that Israel will agree to a seaport and airport in Gaza,” he added.