Op-Ed: Livni's Boomerang
Israeli Justice Minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni might not know it, but she is a better advocate for the right-wing in Israel than almost any other Israeli right-wing politician today.
Tzipi Livni's desire to create a "West Bank" Palestinian Arab State with Jerusalem as its capital, has the effect of insuring that the Palestinian Authority will never agree to anything. She is a one-woman wrecking crew of the very process she wishes to achieve.
Take her recent comments at the World Jewish Congress, delivered with her usual self-righteous demeanor:
"Stalemate can lead to a Palestinian state that would be forced on us - not as the outcome of negotiations that represent the Israeli interest. . . .When there is no peace process, there is no legitimacy to act in order to keep Israel's security. So stalemate is against Israel's security needs…”
Livni also said that she sees the peace process, "not as a favor to Europe or to the United States of America. It is our own interest," adding that while Israel has a strong military, continued US support was also vital for the Jewish state. "Security is guaranteed by more than just militaries. Our security is also guaranteed by our relationship with the USA," Livni's spokeswoman quoted her as telling the congress.
These statements by Israel's chief negotiator seem a radical leftist way to weaken Israel’s position. And to Jewish ears, they are just that But the Palestinian Arabs listen to and believe everything that Livni says. And even better, they believe she is telling the truth.
So, what do they see through the Palestinian Authority prism? That if to Livni, a "stalemate can lead to a Palestinian state that would be forced on us," then a "stalemate" will create a bigger state than Israel will ever agree to. They believe Livni when she says any "settlement" with the Israelis will give the Palestinians less than what they will get if the PA state is "forced" on Israel by the international community. Therefore, from the Palestinian point of view, it is in their worst interests to come to any agreement with the Israelis, because they will get more by stalemating the process.
Then there is Livni's statement: “When there is no peace process, there is no legitimacy to act in order to keep Israel's security.” To the Palestinian Authority, this means that if there is an agreement, and a Palestinian Arab state, there will be legitimacy to Israel's security actions. That's the last thing the Palestinians want. So again,an agreement with the Zionists is in the worst interests of the Palestinians.
Livni avers, "Stalemate is against Israel's security needs." To Abbas this has a double meaning. Abbas believes to some degree that a stalemate is bad for Israel’s security needs. But practically, a stalemate is an absolute security necessity for him and his corrupt band of Fatah members. For, without Israel's security blanket, Hamas will murder Abbas and his American-trained bunch of terrorist-policemen with the same brutality and speed Hamas used to eradicate Fatah from the Gaza Strip.
According to LIvni, creating a Palestinian state is "not a favor to Europe or to the United States of America. It is in our own interest." If creating a Palestinian state is in Israel's "own interest," why should the Palestinians make any security concessions for it? In fact, since, according to Livni, it is in Israel's "own interests," the Israelis should make more concessions than just returning to the 1967 ceasefire lines. Israel should retreat further than the 1967 ceasefire lines for the sake of an agreement.
On the flip-side, Livni's statements will also be used by Hamas against Abbas if he makes the slightest compromise on any issue. Take, for instance, the two issues of the Palestinian "refugees" and Jerusalem. If Abbas agrees to any compromise on the Palestinian refugees or Jerusalem he will be murdered by his own Fatah before Hamas gets to him.
If Abbas chooses Livni's boogeyman of an "internationally imposed" settlement, there will never be a compromise on either of these two issues forced on the Palestinians. So why would the current Palestinians stick their necks out for a compromise with the Israelis on either Jerusalem or the Palestinian refugees when they will surely get more from the "international solution”? The simple answer is: They won't. The Palestinians will never agree with the Israelis when they are sure to get Jerusalem and the refugees through Livni’s “international solution.”
Livni's statements state that the Palestinians will only agree to an Israeli settlement if they believe they are getting more that way than they would from an internationally imposed solution. But, why then, would the Israelis give the Palestinians more in an agreed settlement than the Palestinians could get from the international community without a settlement? This would be fine, except that Israel's problem is that Livni is negotiating with the Palestinians. And who knows what she is promising them.
In short, to find strategic logic for Israel in Livni's statements is impossible. But the tactical value of Livni's statements to Israel is great. Livni falsely inflates the Palestinians' "Peace" expectations to such an unreasonable point that even Bibi will, hopefully, find them impossible to agree to.
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