Livni Hints at Possible Breakthrough in Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni hinted in the Knesset on Sunday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas might be willing to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, something he has adamantly refused to do until now.

Only last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that there could be no peace agreement unless the Palestinians meet such a demand for recognition, which in his view is more basic to the conflict than the issue of borders.

The apparent bombshell came during a meeting of the ministerial committee on legislation on a proposed bill that calls for teaching that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach (Jewish Home) said that, for Israelis, it was clear that the country was the nation-state of the Jews, “something the Palestinians will never accept.”

Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians, reportedly countered by saying to Orbach: “Wait, there will still be surprises.” “And if they are willing to recognize us as the Jewish nation state, will you be willing to divide the land?” she asked.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Jordan’s Lower House of parliament issued a resolution rejecting Israel’s demand.