Livni: Palestinian state in Israel's interest

FM says to make mutual accusations or to find reasons for halting dialogue is self-defeating.

livni and abbas 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
livni and abbas 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
In a speech to the Paris donors' conference, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday that she was in attendance "because the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous Palestinian State that respects law and order and fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of its people is not just a Palestinian dream - it is also an Israeli interest." She told the representatives of some 90 countries and global institutions present that there was a need to close the gap "between the vision and reality." "No dialogue or understanding about the future can take hold, unless it is matched by real changes on the ground," she said. "Elaborating a common vision of a peaceful future, and changing reality so that we can reach that future, are mutually reinforcing." Reiterating Israel's position that any agreement reached as a result of the current negotiations won't be implemented until the Palestinians implement obligations under the road map to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, Livni said, "true peace can never be achieved unless we create the conditions on the ground for it to take root." Also in an apparent reference to the first meeting of the Israeli-Palestinian steering committee that ended in mutual recriminations last Wednesday, she said "changing the reality on the ground takes more than a political decision. It requires constant effort in the face of daily difficulties, and it can lead to frustration on both sides. The temptation to engage in mutual accusations or to find reasons for halting our dialogue will appear, at times, difficult to resist. But ultimately it is self-defeating." Livni said that Israel welcomed the Palestinian reform plan presented at the conference "as a serious effort to build the basis for a responsible Palestinian State that the Palestinian people so deserve and that peace so needs." "I hope also that we can work to rid Gaza of terror, and restore it to the control of the legitimate Palestinian government so that reform and economic development can be possible there as well," she said. Addressing the Arab delegations in the hall, Livni said "your attendance at Annapolis was of critical importance, but your attendance here is perhaps even more so. Palestinians and Israelis, and their leaders, need to know that they are not alone in the risks they take or the challenges they work to overcome. The region as a whole must be with them, taking practical measures to progress together with them - step by step - towards a genuine and lasting peace." Livni said Israel was "committed to the building of a viable Palestinian State. We want the obstacles to Palestinian economy and daily life to be removed. We have no desire to control Palestinian lives. We do not want the image of Israel in the Palestinian mind to be a soldier at a checkpoint." But, she stressed, "we know that making every effort to improve quality of life, also means making every effort to end the threat to life posed by terror and violence."