Livni: No Reason for Any Zionist Party to Oppose Renewal of Peace Negotiation

In an interview to Channel 2, Justice Minister hints at Naftali Bennet's threat to leave coalition, saying Israel will safeguard its interests.

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Tzipi Livni, the justice minister and minister responsible for the negotiations with the Palestinians, commented on the agreement to renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians in an interview on Channel 2's Meet the Press on Saturday.

Livni said that she was aware of the details of the agreement and that they were "the right thing" for Israel, for the government and for the right-wing parties in the coalition.

"All issues are on the table," Livni said. "But once we are in the discussion room we will have to act responsibly and guard the interests of the State of Israel. I did so in the past. It will be complicated and tricky but it is a very important process."

Livni treaded carefully on the issue of Minister Naftali Bennett's threat to leave the government if negotiations begin on the basis of the 1967 borders. "As for yesterday's agreements," she said, "there is no reason for a Zionist party to say no."

She stressed that it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and not her that approved the agreement. "This government needs this negotiation. It has the ability to negotiate; at least I hope so, if all the parties that entered the government will keep their word," Livni said, hinting at Bennett's threat.

With regards to the release of prisoners, Livni said that she preferred Israel release "those that were active before there was any agreements between us and the Palestinians, those that have been in prison 25 years and more."

Bennett said Thursday that his party would not sit in a government that negotiates with the Palestinians based on 1967 borders. Other right-wing cabinet ministers and MKs were also quick to clarify that they would not cooperate with Netanyahu if he proceeds with talks on this basis. Such opposition may lead to a breakup of the coalition government, but will also seriously constrain Netanyahu within his own Likud faction.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Friday in a press conference in Amman that direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations are due to begin next week in Washington.

The announcement comes after Kerry had traveled to the region six times within four months and spent countless hours in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," he told reporters in Jordan. "The agreement is still in the process of being formalized."

Kerry said that the heads of the negotiation teams of Israel and the Palestinians - Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat - will travel to Washington next week in order to hold preliminary talks and discuss further details on the negotiations.

Tzipi Livni speaking at a high school in Ramat Gan.Credit: No Credit