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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Israem FM's statement that Israel wants peace attacked by Likud politicians

Israel Foreign Minister Livni generated political havoc by stating the obvious to Egyptian interviewers:
"I believe I represent most Israelis and I can confirm that Gaza is not the last move. We are convinced that in order to establish a Palestinian state we must withdraw from additional territories" said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in an interview to the Egyptian weekly al-Ahram during her visit to Cairo.
She did not specify if this would be a unilateral withdrawal or part of an agreement. She also said:

"The majority of Israeli people not only understand the need for peace, but also the need to reach compromises in order to reach peace.
"In this context I represent the opinion of the majority, which supports a solution of two states, one for Jews and one for Palestinians, and this means that the road to a Palestinian state begins by renouncing terror – something which I believe represents not only Israel's interest, but also the Palestinians' interest.
"Israel made a number of concessions and took some courageous steps, like in our pullout from the Gaza Strip and in the removal of all the settlements. Thus, we conveyed a message to the Palestinians that we mean what we say," Livni said.
The foreign minister rejected the interviewer's claim that Gaza was a burden on Israel.
"When I decide to uproot 7,000 settlers from their homes, many of whom were born in Gaza, it is untrue to say that their presence there was a burden on Israel. Believe me, this decision was a courageous, difficult and painful decision.
"The goal was to convey a message to the world and the Palestinians that we are serious. At the same time, we wanted to say that we do not wish to control the Palestinians," Livni said.
She added that the decision to withdraw from the Strip derived from a vision of peace.
"What held up the peace process was not Israel's unwillingness, but the inability of the moderate Palestinians who believe in a two-state solution to control violence."
The vicissitudes of politics are such, however, that it is not possible to make the most innocuous and straightforward statements, without suffering attack from every faction. The Likud attacked her for mentioning the W word at all. According to them, Israel must never withdraw from anywhere apparently. The occupation will go on for ever, but somehow there will be peace. The left attacked her for not implementing the withdrawals.
Ami Isseroff

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