, St. Regis - New York City

Excerpts from Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni:

“Making peace with the Palestinians is not a favor to the Palestinians, it’s not even a favor to the President of the United states, it’s something that we need to do in order to keep our values, in order to have this common vision, and we need to do it as soon as possible.”

“It is true that realities on the ground are complicated but I believe that we can, we need to now, re-launch negotiations based on the understanding that an agreement should gives an answer to all the issues that ends the conflict in accordance to the idea of two states for two peoples, that gives each state an answer to the national aspiration of its people: Israel for the Jewish people, the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people.”

Transcript

Excerpts from Kadima Party Chairwoman, and Israel’s opposition leader, Tzipi Livni:

“It’s not enough to ask other nations, other leaders, to say in five words that Israel is a Jewish state. We need to define it first to ourselves, what it is, and then we need to do something else. We need to understand that even though a Jewish majority is not enough, we need a Jewish majority in order to keep the values of Israel and not to have a contradiction between Israel as a Jewish state and Israel as a democracy. And in order to do so we need to accept, embrace and implement the idea of two states for two nations because this is the only way that keeps that vision of the state of Israel as a Jewish democratic state, when these two values are living in harmony and not in contradiction.”
“My understanding is that the only way to keep the values of Israel living in harmony is to divide the land and it is not about who has more rights on the land. I believe in the rights of the Jewish people on the entire land, but yet I believe that the discussion between Israel and the Palestinians is not about who has more rights on the land but how can we create a better future for Israelis — because from my perspective I represent the interests of the state of Israel.”
“Making peace with the Palestinians is not a favor to the Palestinians, it’s not even a favor to the President of the United states, it’s something that we need to do in order to keep our values, in order to have this common denominator, this common vision, and we need to do it, the sooner the better. It is true that realities on the ground are complicated but I believe that we can, we need to now re-launch negotiations based on the understanding that an agreement should be an agreement that gives an answer to all the issues that ends the conflict in accordance with the idea of two states for two peoples and the meaning is that each state gives an answer to the national aspirations of its people. Israel for the Jewish people, the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people.”
“It’s not easy, its problematic, it takes political will and an understanding by any Israeli leader that the price of not making these decisions is higher than the price of making decisions.”
“The only way now to stop this process of delegitimization of the state of Israel is to do something about it and it’s not just about ‘hasbara’ [PR], it’s not just about explaining, it’s about decision making.”
“The Israelis don’t want others to decide for them, they expect their leaders to do so.”
“What we call blocks of settlements, what the Palestinians call adjustments, what President Bush called in his letter to Israel ‘Israeli civil population centers’, what Clinton called ’67 plus swaps — everybody is talking about the same thing, and by the way, it is not connected, not everything is connected, to Israel’s security.”

“Now as I said before that supporting the idea of two states for two people is not a favor to the Palestinians or to the United states, I believe that Israel
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s security is not a favor that the Palestinians are doing for Israel. And it
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s not that the United States is doing for Israel, because nobody wants another terrorist state or extremist state or a failed state, like we face in Lebanon, in the region. So this is a mutual interest for Israel and for the legitimate Palestinian government.”


I am talking about defensible borders and security and demilitarized state and yet there is no 100% proof that it’s going to work. Peace with the Palestinians is not a nice photo in the white house, a noble prize and everything is ok. It can be bloody, we have Hamas there. So Israelis don’t feel that it’s urgent. And unfortunately the Israeli politicians are not willing to pay a political price in order to explain to their own voters what is going to happen because maybe it’s not going to happen on their shift.”
“I think that it’s not important whether Israel loves Obama or not. The Israelis expect their Prime Minister to get along with any American President whether they are in love with this president, like Clinton, or whether they like the President, like Bush, or whether they don’t know what to think about this President. It’s not important. They understand that the relations with the United states are existential for the future of the state of Israel.”
“This is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is not about which narrative is more just. The most important thing we can do is to get to a two-state solution.”
“I believe that instead of having this megaphone diplomacy we need to enter and re-launch negotiations now… And believe me after a few hours of discussion you can discover whether the other side is serious enough or if this is just a nice photo op.”
“I believe that Israel is strong enough to have this discussion. I believe that Israel is strong enough also to hear some criticism. I believe that as long as it comes from the family, so it comes with love, so I can have a discussion with Jewish communities in an understanding that they love Israel and they want to keep and preserve the interests of Israel and the nature of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.”

“I just want to say thank you again, thank you for coming, and hopefully this is the beginning of a dialogue and hopefully we can not just end the conflict but preserve the values of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people for generations to come.”