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Contentions

Re: Livni’s Gambit

Noah, your post about Tzipi Livni’s efforts to insure a narrowly-based Netanyahu government, in the hope it will fail, reflects either Livni’s personal ambition or her principled opposition to Netanyahu’s position regarding a two-state solution.  If she is in fact motivated by principle, her actions in a time of existential challenge might be justified.

But in an editorial today (“Livni’s Moment”), the Jerusalem Post suggests Livni’s claim of being unable to join a Netanyahu government due to disagreement over a two-state solution “unhelpfully reinforces the misperception, mostly among foreign critics, that Israel is primarily responsible for blocking the emergence of a Palestinian state.”

The truth is that Livni and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have been energetically negotiating with Palestinian leaders to achieve just such an outcome. They offered significant and far-reaching concessions – to  no avail.

Netanyahu is not keen on a Palestinian state (though it’s a stretch to claim he opposes it) for precisely the reasons Olmert and Livni have failed to achieve one: The Palestinians won’t compromise on borders; they insist on flooding Israel with millions of “refugees,” and the nature of the sovereignty they seek poses an existential danger to Israel’s survivability.

We could determine whether Livni’s position stems from principled views or political calculations if she disclosed the proposals she put on the table during the year-long Annapolis process. It is easy, and perhaps popular, to be in favor of the two-state solution in principle; a specific proposal highlights precisely the problems the Post noted.  Livni’s popularity might not survive the public disclosure of what she was prepared to deal away in private.  But if she is truly fighting for principles, she should welcome a public discussion of what they mean in practice.



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