WASHINGTON - Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Thursday night entered a distinguished list of statesmen and official honored as a Chubb Fellow by Yale University for their work and the inspiration spurred by their activities.
She is the third Israeli leader to receive this honor after Shimon Peres and Moshe Dayan. The list also includes former US President Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Addressing the university heads and hundreds of students at the New Haven, Connecticut campus, Livni referred to the Goldstone Report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza and warned against comparing between the Israel Defense Forces' actions and terrorism, between deliberate murder and unintentional killing.
The former foreign minister said there was a huge ethical gap between those seeking to murder children in their homes and those unintentionally harming civilians used by terrorists as human shields. This is the situation Israel is dealing with while putting its soldiers at risk on a daily basis, she added, stating that Israel is an ethical country which has an army with values.
Any attempt to judge Israel without taking these differences into consideration and creating this comparison, she said, is a case of double standards and is wrong and misleading.
Livni also addressed the peace process, saying that peace in the Middle East was not an Israeli favor to the president of the United States, to Arab countries or to anyone for that matter. Peace is my interest and the interest of anyone who wants to maintain Israel as the Jewish people's national home, she added.
The Opposition leader told the audience that she does not view the conflict and peace as an academic question. We are talking about our life, our future and a way to take care of this future for our children, she said.
Therefore, Livni added, I believe we must make the decisions which will maintain Israel as a Jewish state and ensure its security for the years ahead. She said Israel must make decisions which will advance the two-state solution, and work to solve the solution while maintaining the State's security interests in any peace settlement.
Livni's next stop is Miami, where she will become the first Israeli woman to receive the International Hall of Fame Award from the International Women's Forum (IWF). Women honored with this award in the past include Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, American journalist Barbara Walters, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, actress Shirley Temple, former US first lady Betty Ford, late actress Audrey Hepburn and other leaders of Asian, African and European countries.