Livni: Secrecy an Important Part of Talks
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator in talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA), called Tuesday to maintain secrecy regarding Israel’s offers to the PA.
The frequent media reports on the rumored contents of the talks do not help, she argued Tuesday, writing on her Facebook page.
“The chatter regarding the negotiations is getting worse: one person says he heard something, another denies, and a third offers an analysis,” she wrote. “The curiosity is understandable, but silence plays an important role in the success of negotiations.”
Israeli leaders have officially declined to disclose the content of talks with the PA, including Israel's offers regarding borders, security and Jerusalem. However, leaked information has frequently reached the media.
It was reported earlier Tuesday that Livni has clashed with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s delegate to the talks, Attorney Yitzchak Molcho, over how much of Jerusalem to offer the PA. Livni reportedly wants the government to offer more than it had originally planned, including land west of the security barrier and some Israeli communities north of Jerusalem.
Minister Gilad Erdan denied the reports of a conflict among Israeli’s negotiators in an interview with Voice of Israel (Kol Yisrael) Radio, and declared that Jerusalem will remain a united, Israeli city within its current borders.
Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz expressed concern over the reports regarding Livni’s position. “As a member of government I bear responsibility,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “And I oppose dividing Jerusalem, or changing the sovereignty in the city in any way.”
According to AFP, Israeli negotiators are seeking to make the Judea and Samaria security barrier the border of a future PA state across Judea and Samaria, not only in Jerusalem. PA negotiators have demanded that the border be based on the armistice line which separated Israel from Jordanian-occupied Judea and Samaria from 1949 to 1967.
Netanyahu has reportedly rejected the 1949 armistice line as “indefensible” and has noted that it ignores the demographic changes that have taken place over the past nearly 50 years – most significantly, the establishment of several “settlement blocs” in Judea and Samaria in which Israelis outnumber PA Arabs.
Netanyahu is not alone in rejecting the armistice line as an indefensible border. A prominent Israel advocate recently warned that any PA-controlled Arab state – even in other borders – would leave parts of Israel open to attack.