Israeli Opposition Leader Meets Palestinian President in N.Y.: You Need to Talk to the U.S.

Livni to Abbas: 'We must act to prevent deterioration. It is important that you work out a solution before Gaza officially becomes Hamastan - and it is important that you return to the dialogue with the United States before the two-state solution disappears'

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
New York
Opposition laeder MK Tzipi Livni meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, September 25, 2018.
Opposition laeder MK Tzipi Livni meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, September 25, 2018.
Noa Landau
Noa Landau
New York

NEW YORK - Opposition leader and former foreign minister MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) met Tuesday in New York with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

Livni said that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to prevent security deterioration and build hope for the future - not to talk about previous negotiation attempts. The solution in Gaza is stuck and it passes through the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, not through legitimizing a fanatical and violent terrorist organization like Hamas, Livni said.

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At the meeting, Livni told Abbas: "Isolation and unilateral steps against Israel will be a tragedy. They could lead to further deteroriation, loss of control and the end of the two-state solution. Instead of Hamastan, the PA must mobilize for a solution in Gaza and instead of attacking the United States, get back to a dialogue with it. The severity of the situation obligates us all to seek ways to bring about calm, without entrenchment of anger and insult."

"You need to get back to a conversation with the United States on the basis of the principle of the two nation-states - a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside Israel. And you should do so not because of the sanctions and funding cuts, but despite of them, even if you have concerns and anger and even if you do not agree to all the conditions," she added.

Livni also told Abbas that "the opposition in Israel and the majority of the public in Israel support the idea of two nation-states, but we will oppose any unilateral move in international forums against Israel. Financing terrorist families and actions in the International Criminal Court in The Hague are unacceptable and cause people to lose their trust while strengthening extremists."

After the meeting, Livni said that "the purpose of the meeting was to prevent security deterioration." She added that "the security establishment warns that we are at a boiling point in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and it is my duty to do everything in my power, with my experience and my connections, to contribute to resolving the crisis in Gaza, to act against Hamas and to give a chance to the American plan. Israel, the Americans, and the Egyptians have unfortunately not succeeded thus far."

"Instead of mutual accusations that serve only domestic politics, we need to act," she added. "The stagnation serves the extremists. Brave leaders must stand up and seek solutions that will prevent violent outbursts."

Livni said that her policy is "consistent with the position of the defense establishment: alliances with moderate factions against extremists. Instead of talking to Hamas, the Israeli government should talk to the legitimate Palestinian Authority," she said. "Abu Mazen [President Abbas] cooperates with Israel's security coordination and he is preferable to the extremists in Hamas and to the other terrorist organizations," she repeated.

"In the Middle East we have to choose among bad options," Livni summed up the conversation. "Abu Mazen is the least bad option, despite the criticism I have against him. I plan on continuing to contribute my part to encouraging a path that will contribute to a calming in the region," Livni said.

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