The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni for stating that Israel will set up a Palestinian state and that doing so will encompass further Israeli territorial withdrawals. In an interview in the Egyptian government-controlled newspaper Al-Ahram, Livni stated that Israel, in its pursuit of peace and a two-state solution, the 2005 unilateral withdrawal from “Gaza was not the last step. Setting up a Palestinian state will oblige us to further withdrawals” ( Independent Media Review Analysis, May 14).
Other contentious statements by Foreign Minister Livni:
- “We didn’t want to rule the Palestinians nor get into a battle with terror because that is a burden. Our withdrawal comes out of a conception of peace. If the peace process is delayed it is not because of Israeli unreadiness, but because the moderate Palestinians who want a two-state solution are incapable of overcoming violence.”
- “Today we see the answer lies in partition between two states. This answers the needs of the Jews as well as those of the Arabs of Gaza, the West Bank and the 1948 refugees. But terrorism compels us to remain in those areas.”
- “We have a peace treaty and we want to live in real peace with Egypt, whose role in the Arab world and in peace efforts with the Palestinians is appreciated.”
- “I know that in other places, too, outside Egypt, Israel is sometimes seen as the enemy, as wanting to rule the Palestinians — and that is not true.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is critical of Minister Livni’s statement because, in the face of the Palestinian Arabs electing Hamas, continuing with terrorism and incessant rocket assaults on Israel despite all the concessions that Israel has made to date, she rewards the terrorists by promising them a Palestinian state and more Israeli withdrawals. Withdrawals from additional parts of Judea and Samaria would involve the human rights catastrophe of perhaps as many as 100,000 Jews uprooted from the homes, synagogues, schools and businesses. What Livni should have said is that Israel will neither deal with the Palestinian Authority nor reward it with any concessions until and unless it fulfills its 13 year old commitments under the signed Oslo Agreements and the 2003 Roadmap peace plan to jail and disarm terrorists and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, school and youth camps that feeds terrorism. Her statement constitutes a major reward for the Palestinian Arabs and the terrorist regime they elected into office only last year.
“We are also disappointed that Minister Livni speaks of an Israeli reluctance to battle terror, which sends a message only of Israeli weakness and exhaustion, a message Israel can ill afford to send. It is regrettable that she speaks of ‘moderate Palestinians’ who seek a two-state solution when the evidence of polling data over recent years suggests that very few Palestinian Arabs would truly make peace with Israel even if a Palestinian Arab state was established. Recent polls have shown that 80% of Palestinian Arabs would support continuing terrorism against Israel even if a Palestinian Arab state was created.
“It is also deeply disappointing that Minister Livni speaks of Israel remaining in Judea and Samaria solely on account of Arab terrorism. There is no expression of love for historically Jewish land or the rights of Jews to live there, which Israel should be absolutely defending.
“We found it astonishing that Tzipi Livni expressed appreciation for Egypt’s role in promoting peace with the Palestinians when in fact she should have used this interview in an Egyptian newspaper to highlight Egypt’s hostile policies towards Israel. Instead she made a defensive statement about Israel being perceived as an enemy and chose to use sycophantic language that lavished unmerited praise on the repressive Mubarak regime, which is facilitating and permitting Palestinian Arab terrorists to smuggle over 31 tons of offensive weaponry into Gaza from Egypt and is promoting vicious anti-Semitism in its media. In other words, Egypt permits weapons to be smuggled to Palestinian Arab terrorists that will be used to murder Jewish men, women and children and also leads the Arab world in promoting hatred of Jews. Also, in contravention of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Egypt permits barely any Egyptian tourism and business contacts with Israel, while Israelis are virtually boycotted from attending cultural events and business and professional conferences in Egypt. How is it possible for an Israeli representative to praise Egypt when these are the facts?
“The whole interview conveys a picture of Israeli confusion and weakness and an opportunity was lost to convey a strong and clear Israeli message of determination to secure Israel from terrorism.”