Israel's Tzipi Livni Will Face Struggle To Jumpstart Palestinian Peace Process

Is Moderate a 'Fig Leaf' for Netanyahu's Hard Line?

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By Reuters

Published February 20, 2013.
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Outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who has long called for concerted negotiations with the Palestinians, was widely viewed as playing a “fig leaf” role for Netanyahu.

The prime minister’s testy relationship with Obama has been highlighted by differences over settlement policy and how to restrain Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.

The Palestinians have refused further negotiations with Israel without another halt to settlement-building, which they say is rapidly consuming territory they need for a viable state. Netanyahu has said he is open to talks without preconditions.

“Livni is experienced in peace negotiations, but what’s more important … is the political decision (she) will implement, and that depends on the policy of Mr. Netanyahu’s government,” Abdallah said.

Both Israel and the United States also have been playing down prospects for a breakthrough in efforts to create a Palestinian state, which Netanyahu says must be demilitarised and not pose a security threat to the Jewish state.

Asked in an Israeli Army Radio interview Wednesday whether Netanyahu had made her any promises to curb settlement building in the West Bank, Livni said the issue of reviving peace talks was “complicated”.

“After the government is formed, I will see what is needed to restart peace negotiations, what are the conditions and the positions of the United States, Europe and the Palestinians.

“Only after that will we know if there are any decisions the Israeli government needs to make,” she said.


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