Livni: PM bringing end of Jewish state
During political discussion at Peres Academic Center, Hatnua chairwoman accuses Netanyahu of purposely trying to convince Israelis there is no hope for peace. 'Illusion that Abbas will take care of our security is unrealistic,' responds Finance Minister Steinitz
The two spoke during a political discussion at the Peres Academic Center in Rehovot, a week after President Shimon Peres warned against the return of a wave of terror attacks and called for the restart of peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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"Netanyahu is leading to the end of the Jewish state. Israel's citizens have a choice between extremism and Zionism," said Livni.
According to the former foreign minister, "The State of Israel is in grave danger and everyone must wake up now. We must stop this course and turn to a completely different one."
Livni accused Netanyahu of "purposely trying to convince that there is no hope for peace. He says the entire world is against us, that everyone is anti-Semitic, that there is no partner. I know we can reach an agreement. Let no one take this hope away from the citizens of Israel."
MK Ben-Eliezer said that the two states for two people concept "remains on the level of plans. The result is a connection created between (Hamas politburo chief) Khaled Mashaal and Abu Mazen (Abbas), while we are in diplomatic isolation on the eve of a third intifada.
"The Middle East today is more religious and anti-Israel. If Bibi (Netanyahu) wants the Greater Israel, he must say so. We believe it's more important to have a Jewish and democratic state here."
Sufian Abu Zaida (R) and MKs Ariel and Ben-Eliezer (Photo: Sivan Farag)
MK Uri Ariel, who is running for Knesset as part of Habayit Hayehudi party, argued that Ben-Eliezer and Livni were "suggesting plans that have already been looked into in the past and rejected by both sides. We must go elsewhere and make progress.
"There will be no permanent agreement in the near future, so we must go to a temporary agreement. We have the right to the entire Land of Israel. The argument is whether we have to ability to act on this right."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz responded to the claims made against the government, saying that "we cannot ignore the fact that Abu Mazen did not condemn the missile fire and attacks on Israel. Love and peace are done blindly, but peace and security are done with eyes wide open. Security must be our top priority, and the illusion that Abu Mazen will take care of it is unrealistic, as is Habayit Hayehudi's illusion that we will annex the Palestinians to our territory."
Dr. Sufian Abu Zaida, a senior Fatah official who served as the Palestinian Authority's minister for prisoner affairs, participated in the panel as well. He slammed Steinitz, saying that "you cannot raise a Zionist Palestinian who will give you what you want. Your leaders decided that the PA was not a partner and that's why you left Gaza.
"Abu Mazen has been humiliated by the Israeli government so many times, and yet he still says he does not want a third intifada. Israel's finance minister is withholding the PA's tax funds, while at the same time the PA is being required to meet obligations. If the PA cannot pay salaries, it won’t be able to provide solutions and will collapse."
Moran Azulay is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth reporter