'There are tough decisions ahead'

Livni tells heads of foreign mission Israel's leadership must show public commitment to two-state solution.

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(photo credit: )
Israel's leadership will have to make "tough decisions," look its citizens in the eye and tell them it was the right thing to do, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told heads of foreign missions in Israel and honorary consuls on Thursday She was speaking at the annual Independence Day reception co-hosted at Beit Hanassi by President Shimon Peres and Livni. Emphasizing Israel's commitment to two nation states living side by side in peace and security, Livni said that "peace is not a piece of paper. Peace and security must be seen on the ground." Israel has been seeking peace with all its neighbors since its creation "and we are ready to sacrifice for it," she said. In describing the many components of the State of Israel, Livni said that many of the older population are people who grew up in Europe and survived the Holocaust. Yet despite their bitter memories of the old Europe, "they seek to upgrade ties with the new Europe." Peres also spoke of Israel's quest for peace and reflected that if the Arabs had accepted the UN resolution for the partition of Palestine in November, 1947, "we wouldn't have to wait for Annapolis" because there would be an Arab state. He wondered how many people killed on both sides would still be alive and how much sorrow would have been spared if the seven wars and the intifadas thrust upon Israel would not have taken place. "Loss and agony is the same on both sides," he said, asserting his conviction that Israel could live together with all of her neighbors just as she does with Egypt and Jordan. Air, navy and military attaches; representatives of peace-keeping forces; heads of non-Jewish religious communities; Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, and a delegation from Sderot, Mishmar Hanegev and Sha'ar Hanegev headed by Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal also attended the event.