Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni Delivers Impassioned Address at AJC Global Forum

Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni Delivers Impassioned Address at AJC Global Forum

June 3, 2013 – Washington -- Tzipi Livni, who serves as Israel’s Justice Minister and is also in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians, told an audience of over 1500 at AJC’s Global Forum that “the only way to keep Israel as both a Jewish state and a democratic state” is to create a “Palestinian state for the Palestinians.”

Otherwise, she said, the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River could one day have an Arab majority, essentially marking the end of Zionism.

Minister Livni argued for pursuing a two-state settlement as being "not a favor to the Palestinians, but rather as a necessity for Israel" and reflecting "core Jewish values."

“Tzipi Livni delivered an impassioned speech. The urgency in her voice was obvious from start to finish. The love of Israel was palpable,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

“Her vision of two states for two people – Israel as the solution to the national aspirations of the Jews, Palestine as the solution to the national aspirations of the Palestinians – is one that AJC has long shared,” Harris continued. “Israel has consistently sought to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, so far to no avail. One can only hope that this time, with renewed effort by both Jerusalem and Washington, the outcome might be different.”

Minister Livni suggested a dual strategy of isolating Hamas, which controls Gaza, while restarting negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The Arab League, she noted, has pledged to back the PA should it reach an agreement with Israel, giving it support in the Arab world to resist extremist forces.

The new Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, a position she said the PA has already accepted. In her vision, the major Jewish settlement blocs on the West Bank, comprising the great majority of settlers on a small percentage of land, would remain Israeli, thus the boundary would not exactly follow the 1967 armistice lines.

In highly personal remarks, Minister Livni related the evolution of her thinking. Her parents were fervent advocates of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River, and she was raised in that ideology. However, the course of events made her understand that other values—maintaining a democratic Israel and reaching peace with its neighbors—had to take priority over maintaining control over the entire biblical land of Israel. “It’s not about rights,” she told the rapt AJC audience, “but the future of our children.”

At the same time, and In no uncertain terms, Minister Livni denounced the tendency of some in the international community to equate Palestinian terrorism with the acts of Israeli soldiers. There is a world of difference, she explained, between the deliberate targeting of civilians, as practiced by Hamas, and the accidental casualties that occur when Israel seeks only to defend itself against violence and terror.

Date: 6/4/2013 12:00:00 AM

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