Livni sets out her vision

By Ted Belman

The Herzliya Confererence is ongoing now. They have set up a site which contains a summary of each speech. You can watch the conference or click on the speakers name to read a summary of what he/she had to say.

This year the focus is on The Balance of Israel’s National Security

I just read the summary of Tzipi Livni’s speech. It must be read in full even though it is a pre-election (for PM) speech.

I have extracted some tidbits

it is important to remember that alongside every new threat that surfaces, there is a hidden opportunity. It is true that the last war resulted in a large gap between our expectations from the military to win and the actual results: …however let us not forget what we have gained from the war: The Lebanese military now controls the South of Lebanon, and the weapons embargo imposed on Lebanon from Syria. These developments have resulted in a favorable situation for Israel.

I am dumbfounded.

The police is interrogating in the most sensitive of places, however this is part of the Israeli fortitude. If we discover that corruption has not spread to those places, we shall all sigh with relief. However if we discover corruption – it is better to investigate and deal with problems than to ignore them and turn a blind eye to problems

But that is exactly what they did with Sharon.

I believe that this is the common goal of the state of Israel: To exist and promote the state as a home to the Jewish people as a Democratic nation, with those two values co-existing and not contradicting, a country we can consider ourselves privileged to live in, a country existing in safety with its neighbors.

The future constitution must determine our common goal, and grant viable context to the words “a national Jewish home” that coexists with the principle of democracy. The constitution must be headed by the law of return (assuring citizenship to Jews everywhere). The constitution must determine the civil rights of the citizens of Israel, and denote the limitation of the government’s reach of power.

In order for them not to contradict, something must be dumbed down. Guess what it will be.

The understanding of the national interest in the existence of the state of Israel as a national state for the Jewish people requires us to accept the principle of “Two Lands for Two Peoples”. The state of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, and the Palestinian nation is the one and only solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. The state of Israel, after having accepted this partition, has the right to define its Arab citizens as minority citizens in the Jewish Nation – and the Palestinian nation has the right to define her citizens as Palestinian Nationals.

I can’t help but note the reference “Palestinian nation”. Now they are not only a “people” but also a “nation”. But more important is the articulation of an axiom in place of a debatable issue, i.e. “the Palestinian nation is the one and only solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.” In order to even advance this idea is to accept that Israel has the duty or responsibility to solve the problem.

In every political process we decide to undergo, it is our duty to look after the security of our citizens and to prevent the establishment of a terrorist state alongside Israel. The national safety is a key ingredient in the security of the state of Israel, and we must work towards maintaining areas where there is a majority of Israelis in Israeli hands. We must take into consideration these two steps in every political maneuver.

She ignores the fact that there is a 2/3 majority of Jews to Arabs in Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. How does she define “areas”? Are they towns or districts? Or does she mean only two areas, one, east of the fence and the other, west of the fence?

I believe that these goals are common to the entire public. In this context, there is no clear distinction between left and right save for with the politicians who have a vested interested in maintaining this artificial partition.Even they know deep inside that these are the key elements in every process, and just as those coming from the supposed right are now realizing that the conflict cannot be solved by force alone, those on the left are coming to the realization that the resolution of the conflict does not depend solely on Israel. The differences are not in the vision and not in the goal – they are only in the way to achieve this goal.

She hopes that saying it makes it so or even worse, believes that it is so. She is saying everyone believes in a two state solution. Once again an axiom out of a debatable proposition. She then goes on to argue that we bypass the way to achieve the goal I.e. the cessation of violence as mandated by the Roadmap and focus on the goal of a two state solution. Neat.

It is painful to read how she rationalizes proceeding regardless of terror.

Naturally Israel prefers to sign a treaty over other potential solutions, however no treaty should be signed without taking into consideration two things: One, the conditions of the negotiations must be set in such a fashion that even if the treaty is violated, the security of the state is not compromised; Two, we must assess beforehand what are the chances for a successful negotiation resulting in a viable agreement.

It is one thing to sign a treaty if it might be violated and it is another thing to sign a treaty that will probably be violated. She might have added “too much” after “is not compromised”. The real question is will the two state solution endanger our security or make us more secure? Or is this another risk we are prepared to accept as in the “ceasefire” in Gaza.

Of particular importance is the fact that she focuses exclusively on our security without regard to our rights. She is quite prepared to ignore our rights in pursuit of our security. In the past I argued Israel must shift the battlefield from her security to her rights.

If we are to assess current affairs we are to do so by judging matters of today, and in light of the recent changes. We must take into account the Hamas and its rise to power, the threat posted by Hezbollah, the Iranian threat and the new trends towards extremism in the area as our considerations. All of these elements can change the type of conflict we are facing, and alter it from a national dispute to a religious one. We currently have a national solution, and a religious conflict is a whole different issue.

We must create a different front, and we can create it. We must raise the concern from the transfer from a national dispute to a religious conflict as a concern shared by the moderate Palestinians, the moderate Arab states and to the entire free world that sees the shared necessity to combat this phenomenon.

She ignores that we have been at war in a national dispute for 100 years and that Fatah are dedicated to destroying Israel. The national dispute is a religious one in that the Islamic culture dictates our destruction. In addition with the rise of Iran and its proxies, it is already a religious one in the sense she means.

Their commitment to fighting terrorist elements must be upheld if we are to prevent the emergence of a terrorist state. We must strengthen the moderate alternative, and this requires us to maintain the pressure on the extremists so that they understand they are not a viable alternative to the moderates. Even as we try to reach an alternative option with the moderates from the Palestinian people, we will not waiver our basic demands. This commitment to creating a viable alternative is not just an Israeli commitment, but also a part of the duties of the Palestinian moderate leadership, as our future as well theirs rests on their ability to perceive and exploit new opportunities as they emerge. Agreements with the radical factions are not included as one of these alternatives.

Mission impossible.

Under the present circumstances, negotiations are in the best Israeli interest. As long as the other side knows that we shall not hesitate to use force if necessary, and that negotiations are part of the ongoing struggle against extremists and terrorism, we do not have to choose between the two options. We must make a distinction between negotiations and concessions – any and all concessions are pending accordance with our main goals and interests.

How is the other side to know that “we shall not hesitate to use force” when we keep hesitating? Or when we bypass the steps on the Roadmap.

The role of the moderate nations that recognize the potential problem with Iran is to strengthen the moderate leadership. Just as we strive to create such a front with the moderates, we must strive to create a similar front with the rest of the free world, with whom we share common values and interests that must be enacted into action. The international front is not necessarily a front of advocacy, but the ability to recognize and act upon common international interests so as to create international policy. In the past we expected the international community to stay away from our affairs, but now we demand their intervention. We demand from them to support the moderate leadership, out of an understanding that the moderates represent their common values and that this is what may trigger the difference.

Dubious at best is the proposition that our interests are the same.

January 23, 2007 | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments / 3 Comments

  1. I suggest that a major issue is missing from virtually all analysis of Tzipi Livni. Those who oppose futile appeasement of terrorists tend to dismiss Livni as self-interested, following U.S. policy, etc. Such motives are readily applicable to others close to her. Yet I think she is plagued principally by a different problem, as demonstrated consistently every time she opens her mouth:

    She’s an idiot.

    Livni’s incoherent and unconsidered talk may readily be shown to be just that. Livni seems truly to believe enthusiastically in her exaggerated nonsense about Arab moderation, the utility of talks, et al. Therefore the correct approach to debunking her is to treat her not as a real opponent, but as one devoid of intelligence.

  2. I would like to ask Livni where she sees evidence that a “moderate” Palestinian faction exists. At the time of Oslo, Israel believed that Arafat could be relied upon as a bulwark against terrorism. The belief that Abbas can be counted on to make peace is similarly misguided and belied by the facts. As Caroline Glick and Khaled Abu Toameh have pointed out, when Abbas was in power, he had tens of thousands of armed security forces under his command versus perhaps 5,000 Hamas militants; yet he made no effort to disarm the latter as required by the first phase of the Roadmap.

    The handful of enlightened intellectuals on the Palestinian side who would broker peace with Israel have absolutely no sway over the 1 million+ Palestinian Arabs who continue to support armed struggle and elected Hamas to carry out that mandate.

    It is the ultimate folly (and racist to boot) for Israeli and American politicians to cling to the notion that the Palestinian Arabs “know not what they do” and will happily accept a 2-state solution sans Jerusalem if only a “moderate” government could be found to lead them out of the wilderness.

  3. B”H

    It ceases to amaze me on how ignorant the leadership is in Israel today. All they are doing (Olmert, Peretz and Livni) is parroting what the US policy is to court favor I suppose. What spineless leaders. Oy!

    This has to be the work of G-d to demonstrate how utterly futile it is to believe in the strength of man.

    Trust in HaShem!

    Shlomo

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