Israel Needs to Decide Its Own Policy


Tzipi Livni, a leader of the opposition in the Israeli parliament, at a 2015 summit in London. (photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

Q&A with former Israeli peace negotiator Tzipi Livni

By Ruth Eglash and William Booth / The Washington Post
December 6, 2016

We need to understand what we all are facing. This is against foreigners and Jews. Anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head in different parts of the world. All together we should fight terrorism, fight anti-Semitism, fight xenophobia and fight for our values. This is what makes Israel part of the free world. Instead of saying workers of the world unite, moderates of the world should unite.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fretting over what President Obama may or may not do in the waning days of his administration.

Will Obama endorse a U.N. resolution enshrining a rough outline for what a two-state solution to the long-running Israel-Palestinian conflict should look like — regarding future borders, the fate of the Jewish settlements and Palestinian refugees, the sharing of Jerusalem?

Or maybe Obama will give a speech.

Or send Secretary of State John F. Kerry to Paris to mull the “French initiative” to push for an end to Israel’s 50-year military occupation, a conference that appears to be stalled.

Or. Or. Or.

We spoke with Israel’s former top peace negotiator Tzipi Livni, who told The Washington Post that there will be no final resolution until Israeli and Palestinian leaders understand that the price of no deal is higher than the price of a deal.

Livni, 58, is a leader of the opposition in the Israeli parliament. She has held eight cabinet posts, including foreign minister, the most held by any Israeli woman.

We sat down with her recently on the sidelines of the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem.

This interview has been edited and condensed for space and clarity:

Q: Americans have elected Donald Trump. Do you foresee any changes in the U.S.-Israel relationship, or any change in how the new administration might approach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

A: Nobody knows what is going to happen. But I do believe that the relationship between Israel and the United States is based on shared values, true friendship and interests.

As an Israeli, I believe that instead of thinking about what President-elect Trump might do, Israel needs to decide its own policy.

At the moment, it’s not clear inside Israel or outside what Israel wants. Is it two states for two peoples, as Netanyahu is saying? Or is it what Minister Naftali Bennett [of the right wing Jewish Home party] is saying, that we should forget about the two-state solution?

Israel needs to make a decision. It’s a tough decision, but without it, it is difficult to explain to the outside world what Israel is doing.

[Read full article here . . . ]