Livni Denies Interim Agreement On Table

YERUSHALAYIM -

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has denied allegations by right-wing Likud MKs that she is aiming at an interim agreement with the Palestinians.

Livni, the chief negotiator for the Netanyahu government, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that she is on an all-or-nothing track that will settle final-status issues and bring an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Likud deputy ministers Danny Danon and Zeev Elkin have repeatedly claimed that she is seeking an interim agreement with the PA that would create a Palestinian state in temporary borders.

“My goal is an agreement that will end the conflict and all claims for both sides,” she said. “I have never used the term ‘interim agreement.’” Livni explained that a partial agreement could not succeed in the present framework.

Livni would not be drawn on criticism from the left, of
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s failure to seriously address the peace talks in his U.N. General Assembly speech on Tuesday. She described her strategy as cooperating with Netanyahu privately rather than sniping at him in public.

“If there wasn’t hope of achieving peace, I wouldn’t be doing this,” she said. “I don’t want to raise false expectations. There has been a lack of confidence in the diplomatic process for years. Having low expectations can be advantageous. But I see we are generating hope and people are [hopeful].”

Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely retorted that if Livni’s intention in denying that she was open to an interim deal was to allay the fears of coalition partners to her right, she was mistaken.

“I am scared, because going for the whole pot is the most dangerous approach,” Hotovely said. “U.S. pressure could make Israel give up everything without the Palestinians declaring an end to the conflict.”

Speaking at a rally following Netanyahu’s U.N. speech, in which he compared Ahmadinejad to “a wolf in wolf’s clothing” and his successor Rouhani to “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Hotovely characterized the Palestinians as “also wolves in wolves’ clothing.”

“But they are fooling the world,” he said. “They don’t want peace and peace can’t be made with them.”