Livni: The world is mistaken on settlements


Former foreign minister gives rare rebuke to int’l community, says settlements a requirement for achieving peace.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni issued rare criticism of the international community at The Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference at Herzliya’s Daniel Hotel Wednesday when she told a room full of ambassadors that Israel keeping settlements was a requirement for achieving peace with the Palestinian Authority.

Before Livni’s address, current Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke to the ambassadors and continued his recent criticism of the international community’s handling of Israel and the Palestinians. But Livni’s criticism surprised the ambassadors.
“It doesn’t matter what you think about settlements,” she said with uncharacteristic bluntness. “We have settlement blocs close to the Green Line, and the only way for the conflict with the Palestinians to end is for Israel to keep them.
“Any pre-agreement by the international community to a withdrawal to 1967 borders before the talks occur, makes it difficult to negotiate. It was clear in the talks I conducted with the Palestinians that there would not be return to 1967 borders.”
Livni said she was frustrated as an Israeli when the international community compared casualties caused by the IDF, which acts to defend Israel and target terrorists, to those killed by terrorists who target civilians.
“The message terrorists need to hear is that there are things that the international community considers illegitimate,” she said. “It is unacceptable that soldiers feel that they cannot act against those who try to harm them.”
She warned that Israel was becoming more isolated. She said Israel could not allow that to happen, not because of the economy but because the international community affected Israel’s legitimacy to act against terrorism and in self-defense.
When Livni said that Israelis needed to change how they viewed settlements and suggested that there was no connection between settlements and security, Yisrael Beytenu immediately attacked her on Twitter.
“Tzipi Livni says no connection between settlements and security, standing in opposition to decades of even left-wing thinking,” a Yisrael Beytenu spokesman wrote.
The Yisrael Beytenu spokesman added later: “Livni ignores that freeze in upgrade in relations with EU was under her administration.
Easy to blame others for her mistakes.”
Livni rejects parallels drawn by Liberman between the Holocaust and the current situation.
“I cannot accept comparisons between today and the Holocaust, which cheapen the Holocaust,” she said.
“There are no similarities whatsoever between the situation of Israeli civilians today and that of Jews in Europe then.”
Her comments came after Liberman slammed the international community for abandoning Israel, and warned that Israel would not allow itself to become a “second Czechoslovakia.”
Livni ended her address by expressing hope that following the PA’s success in obtaining United Nations recognition as a non-member state, negotiations could resume soon.
“Now that the Palestinians won in the UN, you should tell the Palestinians to relaunch negotiations with Israel,” she told the ambassadors.
“Maybe there is a chance now.”

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