Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) said Wednesday that the Jewish Home party's insistence on construction of communities in Judea and Samaria is meant to stymie negotiations. She said sarcastically that it has recently turned out that the religious-Zionist party has the right to “veto peace.”
"They veto peace when they prefer isolated settlements to the blocs,” she said. “They veto peace when they prefer isolated settlements to a Jewish and democratic country.”
She was speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv University.
"Yes, we live in arough neighborhood,” she said. “We left Gaza and we received a harsh security situation. But I want to make clear: when we talk about peace it is not instead of security, but an inseperable part of Israel's security concept.”
"The security of Israel is connected to the IDF's ability to operate, to the legitimacy we have for military operations,” she explained. “Israel is safer when it is not an isolated state and it can fight terror. Israel is safer if it attains normalization with the Arab Leaugue countries, and children in the schools will not be taught to hate it, but about neighborly relations. The example of Jordan makes clear that peace is a part of security.”
"There is one thing that diminishes our ability to enlist the world's support for security arrangements,” she added. “Continued unchecked and irresponsble declarations of continued construction in the settlements, especially the isolated ones.”
Israel's choice, she explained, is “between building a home in an isolated settlement and building security for Israel.”
Minister Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) responded to the attack by saying that Livni “would do better not to look within the Coalition for those responsible for the difficulty in negotiations.” The real culprits, he said, are her Arab partners in negotiations.
Deputy Minister MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) said that Livni is “determined to rehabilitate herself politically among the leftist voters,” and has chosen “to join the chorus that condemns us from outside.”