Livni warns against ‘standstill’ in conflict with PA

Former Foreign Minister MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) on Tuesday warned against the continued standstill in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Speaking at the Truman Institute for Peace at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Livni appeared to back opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog's “separation plan” from the Palestinians and claimed that the standstill only serves “the extremists”.

"Israel is missing an opportunity to break free from the isolation and pressure that are closing in on us,” she said, adding, “After all that has happened in recent months I think it is clear that a security strategy based on a standstill does not work. On the contrary, it serves the extremists and those who represent the radical Islam in the region – those who use the situation as an opportunity to send more and more young people with knives.”

Livni continued, "There is no reason in the world that can justify terrorism, but we must see whether there are things we can do to change the atmosphere. There is no dispute that in order to avoid the deterioration of the security situation we must take actions on the ground and also, if possible, return to a diplomatic process."

“Diplomatic moves towards a separation [from the Palestinians], maintaining the principle of the two-state solution and improving the lives of the Palestinians are not a favor we are doing to the Palestinians – but a favor we are doing for ourselves,” said Livni.

"The answer of Prime Minister Netanyahu to the whole world which is trying to promote these measures is that it is not possible to carry them out as long as there is terrorism – although it is clear that if we do not carry out these measures, then terrorism will not only not fade away, but will actually increase,” she added.

Livni's comments come amid renewed pressure on Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to resume peace talks.

As part of the push to renew the talks, France has put forward an initiative to hold an international Middle East peace conference, while threatening to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” if its peace efforts fail.

The PA last week welcomed the French initiative, days after Netanyahu rejected it while calling it "mystifying" and counterproductive and arguing that the proposal gives Palestinians no incentive to compromise.


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