Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Monday addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference in Washington, saying the only way to maintain Israel as the national home of the Jewish people was to take the lead in enacting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Livni said that such a move was in Israel’s interest and was not to be done as a favor to anyone else, including the US president, nor was the peace process nearly to be used as a talking point to increase Israel’s standing in the world.
The opposition leader stated that Israel must take the lead in the diplomatic process or the country risks having decisions made about its future against its will.
Livni added, however, that peace could not be negotiated with Hamas because they represented religious ideology, and religious conflict cannot be solved.
In addition to the Palestinian unity deal between Hamas and Fatah, Livni listed Palestinian plans to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in September as an obstacle to peace. She stated that it was not too late too change either negative development.
Livni praised US President Barack Obama for his commitment to prevent a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN. She added that Israel must help him achieve this goal by taking steps to renew negotiations with the Palestinians.
The Kadima head said that Israel must insist that Hamas accept the Quartet conditions – that they recognize Israel, that they renounce violence and that they abide by all previous agreements.
Livni said that Israel and the US must come to an agreement about the path to take to peace through intimate discussion and not through public speeches.
The opposition leader said that the two-state solution was the policy of the last three governments and is not an anti-Israeli policy, but rather in Israel’s essential interest.
Livni added that the lack of a diplomatic process to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not an option.
Livni stated that the goal of Israel as a state was to ensure a safe and democratic national home for the Jewish people exists on the land of the ancestors. She said that this vision would be jeopardized if Israel failed to take the initiative in the diplomatic process.