'Israel Is Heading Toward a One-state Reality. We Cannot Accept It'

Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned at Haaretz-UCLA national security conference that Israel, even after replacing Netanyahu as prime minister, was moving farther away from a two-state solution

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Livni said peace with the UAE is turning out to be 'warmer' than previous agreementsCredit: Moti Milrod

Former Israeli Foreign Minister and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is warning that Israel is sliding toward a "one-state reality" that would threaten the country's Jewish and democratic character. Speaking at the Haaretz-UCLA conference on Israeli national security, Livni expressed hope that the U.S. administration and the new government in Israel would take steps to keep open the possibility of a two-state solution.

Watch the full conference. The interview with Tzipi Livni begins at time code 1:19:15

Watch the full Haaretz-UCLA Nazarian Center Conference.Credit: Haaretz

"We have to decide what is our national interest. We want a secure Jewish and democratic state. To achieve that, we have to divide the land," Livni said. She likened Israel to a group of people driving in a car, "the driver is no longer Benjamin Netanyahu, which is fine with me, but where is this car heading? It's moving slowly toward a one-state reality. Not as a solution. This is something we cannot afford."

Livni joined the conference, organized by Haaretz English Edition and UCLA's Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, following a trip she made to the United Arab Emirates. She said that Israel's relationship with the UAE has turned into a "warm peace" since the signing of the Abraham Accords, unlike previous peace agreements.

During her visit there, she shared, senior officials in the country discussed cooperations with Israel not just in the security and intelligence spheres, but also in fields like health and science.

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Livni said that a two-state solution should not be seen as an Israeli "favor" to new allies in the Gulf or to close neighbors like Jordan. "It's our own interest," she stated. She admitted, however, that the Abraham Accords made many Israelis less interested in the Palestinian issue, since Israel now already has relations with Arab countries even as the conflict with the Palestinians continues.

Also during the conference, Haaretz journalist Noa Landau hosted a panel discussion on different possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Micah Goodman, author of the best-selling book "Catch 67", shared his theory of "shrinking the conflict", which has been adopted by prime minister Naftali Bennett. Goodman discussed at length steps that could be taken on the ground, such as economic initaitives and infrastructure investments, that will not lead to the end of the conflict, but could lead in his view to stability and quiet.

Watch: panel on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Haaretz-UCLA conferenceCredit: Haaretz

Gilead Sher, a former Israeli peace negotiator and former chief of staff to prime minister Ehud Barak, challenged the idea and said that "there is no such thing as managing the conflict." Sher advocated for a two-state solution, which he said could later lead to different configurations down the road. “We have to deal with the core issues, and maybe later, after we have a partition of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea into two nation states, we can proceed toward a structure more like a confederation or other ideas," he stated.

Micah Goodman, Noa Landau, Ameer Fakhoury and Gilead Sher discuss solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Credit: Haaretz

Ameer Fakhoury, director of the research center at Neve Shalom (Wahat al Salam) and an adviser to joint society projects, advocated for a confederation alternative to the two-state solution, in the spirit of the “two states, one homeland” initiative. Fakhoury said that "we need to develop our political imagination and think how to share the land, not how to separate." He added that the conflict will not be solved until people on both sides understand that "we cannot live here without seeing one another."

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