FM Livni addresses government ministry directors-general

Min FA

The process has begun. The next meeting will be between the heads of the negotiating teams, following the meeting between Prime Minister Olmert and Abu Mazen. We are not interested in playing for time.

Every government and every country, in advancing a process, must know its ultimate goal. The ultimate goal of Israeli society also affects the result that we want to achieve in the political process with our neighbors. This ultimate goal in my eyes, which represents Israel’s self-conception – and this is not a political statement – is the desire to preserve the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. To achieve this goal, to combine these values without them being in conflict is not an easy task. It is our responsibility to prevent such a conflict and to reconcile these two elements, and of course, to achieve a state living in security in the Land of Israel.[..]

The bad news is that, while the national conflict is one that can be solved – it can ultimately become a dispute over borders which can be solved by the creation of two nation states – the religious conflict has no solution. The religious extremism currently existing in the region – whether in a state like Iran, in organizations like Hizbullah, which is the long arm of Iran, in an organization like Hamas in the Palestinian Authority – represents an ideology that is not interested in compromise, but wants to impose its will, its religious ideology, on all those around it.

Thus, it is in our interest to try and find a solution with the more pragmatic nationalist-oriented entities in the Palestinian Authority. There is today an understanding, on our part and the part of others in the region, that they face the extremist religious threat as much as we do. Iran poses a threat to the countries around it no less than to the State of Israel. It is also clear that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not diminish the extremist religious ideology of Iran, and that it will continue to work with radical groups in this region, to undermine the region’s stability and become the dominant factor in the region. This is clear not only to Israel, but also to the pragmatists in the Palestinian Authority.

[..] And I prefer that it happen quietly, because past experience has taught us that that when negotiations take place if front of the cameras, when everyone is expecting declarations, when things are said, whether accurate or not, when one side reacts angrily, and then the other side, leading to a flare-up, when expectations are raised and not fulfilled – the result is terrorism. In conducting this process, I prefer that it be quiet, without headlines, even if the cost at first is people saying, “Wait, maybe it isn’t happening.” In choosing between results and headlines, I choose results.

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January 16, 2008 | Comments »

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