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Tzipi Livni
Photo: Eli Segal
Livni: Netanyahu, Bennett 'feeding public pipe dreams' on US Embassy move
As Trump seeks to renew talks between Israel and the Palestinians, former peace negotiator Tzipi Livni has criticism towards Abbas: 'He made a mistake when he refused Kerry and Obama's framework,' but insists that 'Israel's interest is to separate from the Palestinians.'

MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett of leading the public on when promising that the US Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem.

 

 

Netanyahu and Bennett, she told Ynet in an interview, "are feeding the Israeli public pipe dreams that would never come to pass."

 

"Netanyahu did it to me during Operation Cast Lead (while he was still in the opposition). He said, 'We'll beat Hamas,' and ended up talking to Hamas," Livni added. "His disciple Bennett is now doing the same thing. He says 'I will keep Jerusalem safe, I will strike Hamas, me, me, me.' In the past, Arik Sharon was there to stand up to Netanyahu, rise above him and make difficult decisions. Today, Bennett is faced with Netanyahu, who is busy trying to be more right wing than him."

 

Livni at Ynet's studio (Photo: Eli Segal)
Livni at Ynet's studio (Photo: Eli Segal)

 

Livni, who served as Israel's peace negotiator in the previous government, has criticism towards the Palestinians. "Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) made a historic mistake when he refused John Kerry and Barack Obama's proposal in 2014," she asserts.

 

So why should he accept it now?

 

"I never said, 'Let me speak to the Palestinians for 20 minutes and there will be peace.' I am first and foremost Israeli. I want Israel to determine its own interests, and Israel's interests are not necessarily Netanyahu's political interests. The interest of the State of Israel is to separate from the Palestinians."

 

Do you think the US Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem?

 

"Like every Israeli, I want to see the US Embassy and the other embassies move to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel."

 

Then, what is the problem?

 

"The problem is that Netanyahu in this loud-mouthed diplomacy is not scoring any achievements for the State of Israel. His inability to set real priorities tremendously damages our most basic and important things. Those who insist on building in isolated settlements harm the major settlement blocs. Those who insist on (keeping) the Arab villages as part of Jerusalem, will eventually lose the most important places to us in Jerusalem."

 

On the one hand, you want to promote peace negotiations with the Palestinians, while on the other, you want the US Embassy in Jerusalem, but I think the Americans say that one doesn't go with the other.

 

"Fine. It is the Americans' right and the duty to consider their own interests. Our job as Israelis is to say what we would like to happen and their job is to consider the consequences of all our actions."

 

Do you think the US administration and Trump himself are committed to diplomacy?

 

"I have no doubt. Trump said so publicly immediately after his press conference with Netanyahu, when he announced that he was committed to the deal, which is his priority."

 

Are you expecting a real clash between Netanyahu and Trump?

 

"Even if there are clashes between Netanyahu and the new administration, this does not mean that there is a conflict of interest between Israel and the US. Both nations are interested in creating a regional process and making Israel part of the region, together with the moderate Sunni states against Iran."

 

Those were the same interests four and eight years ago as well.

 

"Now Netanyahu's interest is different from that of the State of Israel, and his interest is to maintain the coalition."

 

Do you think Trump can subjugate Netanyahu?

 

"Trump said he does not want to impose a settlement, and I respect that statement, but the last thing Netanyahu needs today is to prove that he is always quarrelling with the American administration. I think that Trump has great leverage, as does Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab countries in the region. This leverage can be put to use as long as the State of Israel's basic interests are kept in security and in safeguarding the settlement blocs."

 

 

 

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