After struggling to find common ground with new Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and before his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, special US envoy George Mitchell sat down with opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Thursday afternoon.
Mitchell said his goal was to convince the Israeli leadership of the necessity of establishing a Palestinian
Speaking to reporters before his meeting with Livni, Mitchell said that America's national interest is to see a viable peace in the Middle East, one that included a Palestinian state alongside Israel as the solution to the conflict.
The former senator said that this would be the focus of his efforts in the coming months.
Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's personal envoy to the region, stressed: "As I have said in the past, the president is deeply and personally committed to achieving peace in the Middle East based on the solution of two states for two peoples."
This is the second meeting for Mitchell and Livni. The two met several months ago when Livni was still the minister of foreign affairs. Mitchell spoke of her new role as opposition leader, noting that he himself that experienced lawmaking as both the majority and the minority. A democracy required a patriotic, value-driven leadership as well as a patriotic and value-driven opposition, he said, adding that he was confident Livni would live up to just that as opposition chairwoman.
Livni: Stagnation doesn't serve us
Livni meanwhile tried to emphasize the difference between the issues she would fight the government on, and the issued she would give Netanyahu her backing.
"When it comes to Iran or terrorism, in Israel there is no difference between the coalition and the
opposition. It is no secret however that when it comes to the Palestinian issue there are disagreements between us."
Livni said that a peace process was in Israel's best interest. "Stagnation does not serve Israel's interests. Israel's existence as a national home for the Jewish people, and as a country with a Jewish majority, requires decisions.
"Therefore, I believe that alongside making changes on the ground and investing in the Palestinian economy, Israel must promote a diplomatic process to determine its borders and end the conflict.