Livni: Palestinian statehood isn't a favor to Obama, it's vital for Israel
Opposition leader tells AIPAC that she had decided to come before to the conference 'not to ask what the U.S. can do for Israel, but what we can do together to confront the challenges.'
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said Monday that Israel must adopt the vision of a two-state solution, telling an AIPAC conference that it was the only way to preserve its status as the Jewish homeland.
"Inaction is not an option" to the stalled peace process, Livni told the conference a day after Obama delivered his own address to the pro-Israel lobby clarifying his vision for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with land swaps, which was immediately rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition allies.
Taking a much more official tone than she usually reserves for her Jewish audiences abroad, Livni said that she had decided to come before to the conference "not to ask what the U.S. can do for Israel, but what we can do together to confront the challenges."
If Israel did not take a step to lead the peace process, it would inevitably be led, she said. Israel should welcome the sentiment of hope accompanying the changes that have swept the Middle East, Livni said, but warned that as Zionists "we can't only hope, we can't remain indifferent to this battle that will shape our future".
Livni spoke at length about Israel's vision of remaining a Jewish and Democratic state, stressing that such a future would be endangered by inaction.
Two “dramatic decisions” must be made to implement this vision, she said.
First, the State of Israel should be as a Jewish homeland, based on a meaningful and practical education that is not “given away to the ultra-Orthodox parties”.
The second decision Israel must make, said Livni, is to adopt the two-state solution, which she declared would not be a "favor to the U.S. president or anyone else."
"It is not an anti-Israeli policy – it is vital for Israel’s interests," she said.
Livni added that she believes it is the historical right of the Jewish people to live in the whole land of Israel, but said that the reality of today's situation was tough and complex.
"If we won’t shape our future – others will do it for us," she said.
The two main obstacles facing Israel right now Livni said, are the looming vote at the United Nations on Palestinian statehood this September and the recent reconciliation between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.
“There is still time to change them both”, she said. “September could be just another month of the year. I was glad to see the U.S. president taking an initiative to prevent the unilateral steps. Launching the negotiations process will postpone September and maybe even produce some success. We could rally the world to our fight against the terror and delegitimize Hamas”.
The Kadima chairman also said that she sees no hope for peace with Hamas, “because they represent religious ideology and there is no way to solve religious conflict”.
The real solution to the Middle East conflict is not in public diplomacy, said Livni, but real policy.
“Israel is strong enough to make decisions,” she said.
Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver his own address to AIPAC later Monday.