Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Livni: Palestinian moderates can't implement deals

Foreign minister says there is a gap between the will of pragmatic Palestinian leaders to reach understandings with Israel, and their ability to implement those agreements; states moderate Arab countries, international community must support peace talks "It is now clear that the true conflict in the region is not between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Jews and Arabs, but between moderates and extremists," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Monday in the NATO-Israel Conference held at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.

"Therefore," she continued, "our policy must be a dual policy, one which combats the extremists and isolates them on the one hand, while at the same time strengthens the moderates and builds with them bridges of understanding and cooperation."

Referring to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Livni said, "With the pragmatic leaders in the Palestinian Authority, we share a common vision and common objectives. We share the vision of two states, two homelands…. living side by side in peace and security.

"It would, however, be naïve to assume that there are no differences of interests between the two sides. Therefore we must pursue a process and dialogue in order to bridge the differences," she added.

The foreign minister stressed that Israel and the Palestinians would have to bridge two major gaps: The first, that in the process of resolving the conflict both sides would have to give up on some of their historical dreams, and the second - the gap between the understandings reached and the ability to implement them.

"There is no disputing the fact that there is a gap between the will of the pragmatic Palestinian leaders and their capability to execute. Even if we do, hopefully, resolve the principle issues relating to the Palestinian state, it is clear that we cannot just separate and throw the key to the other side and hope for the best," Livni stressed.

'Arab world must support peace talks'
"The Gaza experience is a living example of what the world cannot afford," Livni stated. "Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip, thus terminating its so called occupation of the Strip, and allowing the Palestinians to establish independent governance. In return, we received increased terror, daily Qassam rocket attacks against cities in Israel and the establishment of a Hamas stronghold on our southern border.

"We must ensure that there is an efficient and effective government which takes control over the area and prevents attacks against Israel," she concluded.

In her speech, Livni said that Israel would be willing to participate in any kind of negotiations based on the road map for peace. She also called on the international community and the moderate Arab countries to support the talks.

"The Arab and Muslim world must adopt any decision that the Palestinians accept, and not dictate the results. They must participate in any meeting that is convened, and not present conditions for their participation. Instead of waiting till the end of the conflict in order to normalize relations with Israel, they can take steps now, as Israel takes steps towards the Palestinians," she said.

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