Despite the Palestinian Authority's (PA) ongoing rejection of Israeli demands to be recognized as the state of the Jewish people, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has not given up on her hopes that the framework agreement being drawn up by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be implemented.
On Sunday night, PA chief Mahmoud Abbas heads to Washington, where he will meet U.S. President Barack Obama Monday. Analysts said that the meeting could be a difficult one for Abbas, as Obama and Kerry lean on him to make concessions he has sworn not to make.
A key concessions is agreeing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a tenet Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insists is a key building block of any agreement with the PA, explaining that the Arabs’ refusal to recognize Israel stands at the heart of the conflict.
Livni, although in disagreement with many of the stances of members of Netanyahu's coalition on the political right, agrees with the Prime Minister on this point.
“Those who say that there will be no agreement in our generation have given up on the idea of peace,” she said, referring to a statement by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday criticizing Abbas and assessing the low prospects of peace.
“A responsible leadership cannot surrender on the basic interests of the State of Israel which are meant to defend Zionism and on the Jewish and democratic state,” added Livni. Insisting on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, she said, would “prevent Israel from turning into a binational state.”
Getting the PA to agree will be very difficult, Livni said, “but to concede is easy. We are decision makers, not observers from the side. Just to complain about the other side – and I, too, have plenty of complaints – will not change reality to the point where we will be able to preserve the things that are important to us."