Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at an International Conference on “Democracy, Development and Free Trade” in Doha, Qatar that “According to the understanding of our new regional challenges, Israel left the Gaza Strip, dismantled all settlements, and gave an opportunity for Palestinian self rule, as a first step on the path towards a Palestinian state. For this reason, we launched the Annapolis process, to reach a peace greement [implementation of which is subject to the Road Map].
“Peace talks are taking place with the pragmatic Palestinians, who recognize Israel’s right to exist, who seek to realize their national rights but choose the path of peace over terrorism. With such partners, who support the Two State Solution, peace can be attained. The conflict is solvable. There is no hope for peace with the extremists, who reject the two-state solution, refuse to even recognize the existence of Israel and choose the path of violence … We recognize the fact that the Palestinian people have legitimate rights and aspirations. We have no interest in ruling their lives. Israel is committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state, as a nation state for the Palestinian people and a peaceful neighbor to Israel. Equally, the people of Israel are entitled to those same rights. There is no place for terrorism, and no justification for terrorism. Just as a Palestinian State is an Israeli interest, so Israeli security must be a Palestinian interest.
“Israel is deeply engaged in a peace process. The attainment of peace is an Israeli strategic objective, and it is clear that it entails further territorial concessions. Stagnation is not our policy. We have no interest in wasting time, or establishing facts on the ground that will impede the creation of a Palestinian state.
“As the Israeli chief negotiator, the responsibility lies heavy on my shoulders, as this concerns our future. The talks are based on trust, and some principles:
• The talks are bilateral only.
• Everything is on the table, yet nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
• We do not share information with the media, or the public. There is a price that we pay. Lack of information leads to an incorrect image that nothing is happening. But the right thing to do is to continue to work seriously and discretely.
• Any future agreement is subject to full implementation of the first stage of the road map, for we cannot afford an additional terror state in our region. We are in need of a legitimate Palestinian government, like the one in the West Bank, which has effective control of both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“This is evidently clear with the violent takeover by the Hamas of the Gaza Strip. Although Israel fully withdrew all its forces from the Gaza Strip, dismantled all settlements and allowed for self Palestinian rule in this territory, instead of coexistence, we have received terror in return.
“Gaza is not just an Israeli problem. It has become an obstacle to the formation of a Palestinian state.
“In parallel to the negotiations, we must make changes on the ground. We must advance on the issue of security for Israel (terror attacks continue), and capacity building and economic promotion for the Palestinians.
“We have also decided not to allow the daily frustrations to stop the talks. Although It is not easy for Israel to negotiate peace in days of terror, and not easy for the Palestinians while Israel acts against terror in Gaza. But we must continue – for stopping the talks serves the interests of those who do not want peace”.
The full text of Livni’s statement can be found here .