Friday, December 12, 2008

Livni's Words Haunt Her

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Livni's Words Haunt Her

Tzipi Livni, trying to get her campaign into forward gear, sputtered Thursday with remarks that were interpreted as showing lack of support for soldiers and unusually hawkish to Arabs. She won international headlines after telling students in Tel Aviv that "it is not always possible to bring every [soldie home." . "It's the first time an Israeli leader has admitted in public that efforts to free Sgt. Gilad Shalit might fail," the Associated Press reported. Shalit was kidnapped 901 days ago in a Gaza crossing terrorist attack by Hamas and allied groups.

The Committee to Free Shalit plans to demonstrate Friday morning opposite the Tel Aviv home of Livni and demand that she retract her remarks. Protest leader Guy Eliasaf said, "It is very sad that Livni is prepared to sacrifice Gilad on her election campaign altar."

Israel always has been known for spectacular missions that have rescued soldiers and citizens and for its efforts to free captives.

During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Foreign Minister Livni vowed that Israel would not stop fighting Hizbullah terrorists until kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and two other captive soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were returned home. Towards the end of the war, she negotiated a ceasefire agreement through the United Nations but promised it would include a mechanism for bringing them back home.

However, the truce resolution only included a clause stating that Hizbullah should release Goldwasser and Regev, who eventually were returned in black coffins in August after outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to release child murderer Samir Kuntar of Lebanon and several Hizbullah terrorists. The public was not informed beforehand that the soldiers were dead.

Livni also took it on the chin from Israeli Arabs who were angered by her remarks to the students that the establishment of a new Arab state within Israel's current borders will mean Israeli Arabs should leave Israel if they do not like the idea of living in a Jewish state.

"And among other things, I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Israeli Arabs, and tell them, 'your national solution lies elsewhere,'" she said. "You are citizens with equal rights… in a state that is the national home of the Jewish people."

Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi responded that Livni sounds like Likud chairman MK Binyamin Netanyahu. He demanded that she state whether she "intends to transfer a million Arab citizens to the Palestinian State that will be established." .

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