August 20, 2013
Israel will make ‘dramatic decisions’ for peace, Livni says
U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will result in dramatic Israeli decisions, the chief Israeli negotiator predicted on Tuesday.
Tzipi Livni coupled her forecast with acknowledgement that at least one partner in Israel's right-wing coalition opposed the goal set by the United States, which is brokering the talks, to create a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
Livni, speaking on Israel Radio, said "there will be dramatic decisions" by Israel at the end, and negotiators had agreed not to disclose details about their deliberations in order to build trust.
"We are arguing, but we are arguing inside the room," she said.
Israeli and Palestinian sources said the negotiating teams planned to convene for a third round of talks, in Jerusalem, on Tuesday.
The negotiations were renewed last month, in Washington, after a three-year standoff over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas captured in the 1967 Middle East war and which Palestinians seek for a state along with the Gaza Strip.
A second round of talks was held at an undisclosed location in Jerusalem on August 14, despite Palestinian consternation over Israel's approval in the run-up to the meeting of plans for 3,100 new homes for settlers.
Israel has rejected criticism of its construction plans, saying the new homes would be erected in settlements within blocs it intends to keep in any future peace deal. Most countries view all settlements Israel has built on occupied land as illegal.
No details were given after last week's session on the subject matter, widely believed to have focused on setting an agenda for discussing core issues such as borders, security and the future of settlements, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
"It is no secret that there is at least one party (in the Israeli government) that sees negotiations as wrong, that opposes two states for two peoples," Livni said, referring to the pro-settler Jewish Home faction.
She called on the main opposition Labor Party to "lend its support now" to the government's efforts, suggesting such political backing could help achieve a land-for-peace deal.
In a one-line response to Livni's reference to his party's opposition to a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jewish Home's leader, Naftali Bennett, wrote on his Facebook page: "Get over it."
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Alison Williams
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