Photo: AP
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Livni: PM's response to document shows why US, Palestinians don't trust him

Original document shows Israel accepting return to '67 borders, agreeing to consider Palestinian right of return on case by case basis; Netanyahu: I never agreed to these concessions.

Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "cowardly" response to a secret document of far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians, which was revealed over the weekend by Ynet and its sister print publication Yedioth Ahronoth.



"When I see Netanyahu's cowardly response, I understand why the Palestinians and Americans say they don't believe him," Livni said at an election event at the IDC Herzliya.


The document, dated August 2013, showed the extent to which Netanyahu had been willing to go to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians. 




The document was the culmination of years of secret negotiations between Netanyahu's senior aide, lawyer Yitzhak Molcho, and Abbas associate Hussein Agha. It was meant to serve as basis for official talks launched at the time between Israel and the Palestinians under the auspices of US Secretary of State John Kerry.


Livni, who headed Israel's negotiating team during the last round of peace talks with the Palestinians, also had criticism towards the Palestinian leadership. "Sometimes, your partner is not much, and I have criticism against (Palestinian President) Abbas, who didn't respond to the American outline."


Meanwhile, Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz criticized the publication of the document, saying it was a "manipulation," and "fabricated in the way it was presented," noting neither Netanyahu nor Molcho agreed to the principles outlined.


"The objective is to move votes from the Likud to Bayit Yehudi and Shas, in order to pave Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog's way to the premiership. I regret that Bennett and Lieberman are playing along with this," Steinitz added.


The document, titled "Draft Proposal for Statement of Principles Towards a Permanent Arrangement," notes Israel's willingness to withdraw to the 1967 borders with land swaps, acknowledges the legitimacy of Palestinian aspirations in East Jerusalem, and grants them a hold in the Jordan Valley.


In the document, the prime minister even opens the door to the possibility of the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel on an individual basis, the evacuation of Jewish settlers from the West Bank and the option of leaving some of the Israeli settlements and its residents under Palestinian rule.


Netanyahu was hit with criticism from both the right and left over the weekend for the surprising concessions offered, and for the gaps between his public statements and what was happening behind closed doors.


The prime minister, however, claimed that he never signed off on the concessions detailed in the document.


"I have never agreed to divide Jerusalem, never agreed to return to the '67 lines, never agreed to acknowledge the right of return, never agreed to concede our presences in the Jordan Valley, never," he said at a political gathering in Yehud.


"This is nonsense. This is an attempt to obtain an American draft that I said from the beginning I would oppose clauses that were not acceptable to me, like these clauses. The reality is that no prime minister insisted as I did on a united Jerusalem, on construction, on settlement."


Itamar Eichner and Yuval Karni contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 03.08.15, 09:40
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