Every time I encounter a media report about the wonderful friendship between our Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, I recall a conversation between the leaders of Israel and France. David Ben Gurion spoke about “France, our friend and ally,” while Charles de Gaulle replied “France has no friends or enemies. France has interests.” Does Livni understand that?
Let’s start from Annapolis, at the closed-door forum of senior representatives at the conference. At its conclusion, Rice spoke about knowing what it’s like not to be permitted to walk on certain roads or pass through a junction because one is a Palestinian. She said she understands the humiliation and helplessness. The conclusion stemming from the memories of discrimination of a black child in the era of racism in America was clear: In the Middle East Israelis are the bad guys, while Palestinians are the innocent victim. Yet Livni remained silent.
A month earlier, in Jerusalem, Rice compared the Palestinian struggle to the Afro-Americans struggle for civil rights, while comparing Mahmoud Abbas to a moderate leader committed to peace like Martin Luther King! Yet Livni remained silent.
Let’s go back to 2003. President Bush proposed the Road Map. The plan undermined Israeli interests and the government found it difficult to support it. Livni came up with 14 reservations. Government members supported it and emphasized: The reservations constitute an inseparable part and required condition for implementing the Road Map. The Americans disregarded the reservations and turned to the United Nations Security Council, which passed the document without them
In light of the friendship between the ministers, we hoped the process would not be repeated. We were proven wrong. Two days after Annapolis, without consulting Israel, again the Americans attempted to pass the conference’s “declaration of intent” as a Security Council resolution. The prime minister thwarted this American attempt, but where was Livni? She knew about it yet didn’t report it, or worse, didn’t know at all? What does Israel gain from the friendship if Condi does not bother to coordinate such move with Tzipi? Yet Livni remained silent.
At Annapolis, the zenith of her achievements, Livni placed Israel and Palestinian terrorism on the same moral plain when she drafted, along with Abbas and Condoleezza, the conference’s “declaration of intent” that demands the parties confront terror and incitement, whether it is Israeli or Palestinian.
The document, just like the conference, focused on Palestinian interests: Establishment of a Palestinian state; discussion of all core issues such as the entry of refugees into Israel, which no Israeli government before was willing to even discuss; renunciation of our position and agreement to a timetable for completing negotiations, while completely ignoring the 14 reservations attached to the Road Map. Meanwhile, by agreeing that the Americans would be the arbitrator on disagreements between us and the Palestinians, the US took away Israel’s ability to make decisions on matters essential to its security.
No mention of Israeli rights or interestsThe US Administration, which turns a blind eye to the incitement at Palestinian schools, and which is subordinated to the instructions of the secretary of state who sees Abbas as Martin Luther King, will be the one to decide whether the Palestinians are the inciters, or perhaps Israel is the one doing the incitement. The “judge” appointed by Condi, General James Jones, is known for his chilly attitude towards us and for his connections to US economic interests in Arab states.
Meanwhile, there was no mention of Israeli rights or interests. Even the order of actions, which was explicitly determined in the Road Map – dismantling terror infrastructure as a condition to any progress, completely disappeared. In fact, Israel is the one that now needs to prove its peace intentions are serious by removing outposts and freezing settlements.
There was neither mention of Bush’s pledge regarding settlement blocs staying under Israeli sovereignty which Olmert viewed as a historical achievement, nor of defensible borders for Israel.
And again, just like in Oslo, we agreed to give them guns, they are already receiving armored vehicles, the Americans already pledged to train their security forces, and we already know they will be granted billions of dollars.
And one note: Ahead of the conference, Condi demanded, as a gesture, the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Livni, instead of demanding the release of one prisoner in exchange – Jonathan Pollard - remained silent.
While Tzipi gazes at Condi as if she was a smitten high school student, Rice, a distinguished political science student, internalized de Gaulle’s doctrine: National leaders have no “friends.” They have interests. As Bush’s emissary in his last term in office, she wishes to leave her mark. She is already slamming Israel over continued construction in Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood. Her interest is clear, and she exploits the friendship to promote it.
Livni has the right to befriend whoever she wishes, but the State of Israel urgently needs a foreign minister who would represent its interests.