Foreign Minister Livni
Photo: Haim Zach

We must unite against Hamas, Livni tells Arab paper

In optimistic article published in Arab world's leading newspaper, foreign minister writes, 'Israel has a strong interest to find a stable and prosperous Palestinian partner'; says Israel was wrong for not cooperating sufficiently with regional elements 'in order to help us build Israeli-Palestinian peace'

Hamas, Iran and Hizbullah will do anything in order to prevent any possibility of peace, and therefore we must unite against them, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wrote in an article published Monday by the London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat.


This is the first time a senior Israeli official has published an article in the world's leading Arabic-language newspaper.


At the start of the article, which was written before Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip, Livni said that Israel did not want to control the Palestinians' lives.


"We have a very strong interest to find a stable and prosperous partner committed to work for the development of the Palestinian state and not resist Israel's existence," she wrote.


The foreign minister added that the principle of a "zero-sum game", in which one side's victory is the other side's loss, used to be the principle both sides shared, but that it had caused a lot of suffering in the region, particularly to those who wanted to create a joint infrastructure in order to live together.


The State of Israel continues to fight for its basic right to live in peace alongside its neighbors in the region, she said.


According to Livni, Israel's stances have been presented in an erroneous manner many times, creating a difference between reality and the impression left by those stances.


"This is why I want to share with you directly the Israeli perception, in order for us to be able to launch a real dialogue which will benefit the entire region," she said.


The foreign minister wrote that "Israel is a peace-seeking democratic country, which believes in the two-state principle and does not aspire to control the Palestinians' lives, but is forced to defend itself against the Palestinian terrorists, who are those that caused the Palestinians' disaster, as has been proven by the events in the Strip."


Livni added that Israel was willing to take painful steps in order to bring about the establishment of a developed and prosperous Palestinian state, as was proven in the disengagement plan.


She said that the establishment of the State of Israel was the realization of the Jewish people's historical and national aspirations, and that the Palestinian state should also be the realization of the Palestinian people's national aspirations.


"The Palestinian state is the answer for the demand for the Palestinians' return. This aspiration must not remain a bleeding wound leaving the conflict alive," Livni said.


'No territorial continuity between Gaza, West Bank'

The foreign minister added that Israel and the Palestinians must reach a joint understanding and establish a Palestinian state based on the Quartet principles and the Road Map commitments.


"We, the Israelis and the Palestinians, must reach an agreement on the joint borders, an agreement which will include another withdrawal. And to those who say that returning to the 1967 borders will solve all the problems, I say that there was no Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. There will be no territorial continuity between the Strip and the West Bank. The border between Israel and the Palestinian state is something new which must not be dictated, but rather negotiated according to UN Resolution 242."


Livni said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to hold serious and profound discussions. According to her, these talks could lead to a diplomatic horizon and to a way out from the feeling of distrust and lack of confidence characterizing the relations between the two sides.


"Here the international community has a vital role. Our supporters in the world must be committed to a relentless struggle against the radicals, deal with the incitement and intolerance issue and strengthen those who are committed to coexistence.


"This is the only way to prove that dialogue and mutual recognition are those which will bear fruit, and the Arab world's role here is extremely important. We were wrong in the past when we did not cooperate sufficiently with conservative regional elements in order for them to help us build Israeli-Palestinian peace."


The foreign minister also addressed the Arab peace initiative, which she said was "a development providing an opportunity for positive regional moves."


Livni said that the Arab and Muslim world had the possibility of leveraging Israeli-Palestinian peace by explaining to the region's people what they could gain from peace.


"There are encouraging signs that we are moving in the right direction. In this context I would like to mention the historical and first-ever meeting held between Israel and representatives of the Arab League."


We must not live in illusions, Livni wrote. "The enemies of coexistence, led by Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas, will do anything in order to prevent any possibility of peace. They will try and turn solvable political conflicts into religious conflicts which have no chance of being solved, and if they succeed, we are destined for a future filled with violence, hatred and despair. Therefore, we must unite our efforts in order to oppress these threats. Otherwise, we will not achieve peace."


Livni concluded by saying that "the region's nations cannot only settle for thwarting the radicals' plots, but must believe in the option of peace, the option which offers us a brighter, safer and more dignified future. The option which presents an alternative reality for the region is based on hope, not on intimidation. Therefore the region's nations and leaders must act sensibly and courageously in order to bring about this alternative."


Roee Nahmias contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 06.18.07, 14:01
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