Livni Rejects Calls to Leave Coalition, Will Pursue Peace Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will not leave the coalition, nor will she give up her quest for peace with the Palestinians.

Livi told a meeting of her Movement faction on Monday that its presence in the coalition prevents the right-wing from hijacking the government and transforming the country into an extremist state.

“It’s clear to me why the extreme Right doesn’t love our work in the government. We’re preventing the possibility of creating the State of Yitzhar,” Livni said, referring to the small community that has recently been embroiled in headline-making clashes with both Palestinians and the IDF.

The speech was her answer to critics of her unauthorized meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in London last Thursday. She did so, even though she had voted with the government to suspend talks with the PA after it signed a unity pact with Hamas.

“We will continue to advance Israeli interests out of deep concern for its future, that is the task of responsible leadership,” Livni said. “I remind everyone that the conflict [with the Palestinians] still exists, [and that] Israel’s interest is to end the conflict.”

It is therefore impossible not to speak with the Palestinians, but such conversation does not constitute a “negotiation,” she said.

“I would prefer solving the conflict through direct negotiations,” Livni said. She explained that the Fatah-Hamas unity pact was problematic and could necessitate a new strategy toward the creation of a two-state solution.

“If we will have to think of alternative options to solve the conflict, that is what we will do,” Livni said.