Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni addressed Tuesday's UN Security Council meeting on a proposal to issue a condemnation against Israel for its role in the current situation in Gaza in her speech at the annual Herzliya Conference.
"I believe that Israel should not have to apologize for its existence and it will continue to defend the lives of its citizens, even at the price of condemnation," she said, adding that "it is inconceivable for Palestinians to fire rockets on Israel and then ask for our help."
Livni also lashed out at Opposition chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, who delivered his speech to the conference on Monday. Without directly referencing his name, Livni said that "there are those who will not speak the truth regarding the need to divide the State of Israel so as not to lose political support, there are those who speak in terms of 'economic contrivances' to avoid a political resolution. Economics are part of the solution, but not a substitute for it.
"We are not heading towards a new cooperative Middle East, but rather parting consensually for the good of our children and ourselves, and so that we may preserve our sense of independence," she said.
Livni dedicated an extensive part of her speech to the negotiation process and the divisive core issues: "I am not here to peddle dreams nor am I here to strengthen the hands of those who have given up. I believe that even amidst a sea of cynicism, we can win the public's support.
"Even if the Palestinians fail to implement it, this document will be of worth if in it there are Israeli interests set in writing and ratified by the international community. There will be no further claims beyond this document and it will offer a lasting solution to the conflict, one which will take the place of United Nations resolutions and proposals like the Arab Initiative," the foreign minister added.
'Negotiations aren't prize for int'l community'
Livni continued to say that "entering negotiations is not a gift to the other side or a prize for the international community, but a genuine and honest attempt to find a solution. At Annapolis we determined, with Palestinian consent and with the world's support, that the implementation will be subject to the full realization of the Road Map – and the most important issue, to me and to the State of Israel, is security. Only if the Palestinians meet the conditions set by the international community then they will be able to proceed to establishing a Palestinian State."
She reiterated the importance of battling extremists and said of Hamas that it has a responsibility towards Gaza and the territory under its control. "Terror is terror, and attempting to understand the motives behind terrorism is a mistake. The occupation can no longer be used as an excuse," Livni said.
The foreign minister called on the Arab world to "get off the fence" and give its unconditional support to the Palestinian leadership.
On the tensions with Iran Livni said: "It is important to understand that the Iranian threat is unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will not change if we solve this conflict.
"We're in a bad neighborhood where you either stand up to the local bully or you join him. Any hesitation is immediately seen as a sign of weakness and therefore the world cannot allow itself any weakness on the Iranian matter," she said.