Israel Hints at Back Channel Peace Talks

Did Tzipi Livni Meet Mahmoud Abbas in London?

By Reuters

Published May 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government hinted on Saturday that Israel was involved in back-channel contacts with Palestinian and Arab officials despite the collapse of U.S.-brokered peace negotiations last month.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman confirmed that centrist Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel’s main negotiator in the nine months of talks, had met secretly in London this past week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“I think that it’s true that she met (him),” Lieberman told Israel’s Channel 2 television when asked about a report the same station had broadcast on Friday saying the two had met.

Lieberman insisted it had been “a private meeting” and did not mean negotiations had resumed, though his comments were the first official confirmation that the sides were still in direct contact despite the suspension of formal diplomacy.

Livni has confirmed she visited London but aides have declined comment on reports that she met Abbas there. Abbas has also made no comment.

Lieberman said Israel was sticking by its decision of last month to suspend formal talks with the Palestinians over Abbas’s deal to forge a unity government with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Islamist group rejects dialog with the Jewish state.

The negotiations renewed under the tutelage of Secretary of State John Kerry in July were already teetering towards failure.

Lieberman said “there is no stagnation” in diplomacy despite the negotiations’ formal end last month.

“The fact there are no negotiations with Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) doesn’t mean there aren’t other things” taking place, he said, suggesting Israel should seek out other figures, including in the Arab business world, as potential partners and dismissing the possibility of a deal with Abbas.

“We must play along the length and breadth of the playing field,” he said.

Netanyahu has also hinted at seeking a way to break the diplomatic deadlock. Haaretz daily said on Friday he planned to consult with cabinet ministers about alternative courses of action.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.