Livni: There are differences of opinion over the Road Map

Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday morning after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice over breakfast in Jerusalem: “There are differences of opinion are over the road map. We must reach a basic understanding that the creation of a Palestinian state should occur only after Israel’s security is established”. Livni’s remarks were reported in Haaretz newspaper: “The situation is complicated,” Livni said. “One must understand that we have a shared interest with the moderates in the [Palestinian] Authority, and they need to understand that first there must be security, and only then a Palestinian state. The problem is not over making a joint declaration, but what its content would be”… The Haaretz report on Livni’s remarks after a breakfast meeting with Rice is here.

On Saturday evening, at the Saban Forum, Livni told the glitterati that attended that “Today, the Palestinians understand that terrorism harms their own interests. At the same time, there are problems with implementing the vision, given the current situation. There are problems with their ability to deliver, and we must strengthen the moderate leadership in order to improve the situation on the ground … We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality and the terrorism in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, we have decided to adopt a dual strategy – to isolate Hamas, to take steps against terrorism and, at the same time, to look for a vision and a common denominator with the Palestinian leadership and together to change the situation on the ground. The change must be on the ground and not just in theory. I believe that we must send a message to the Palestinian people that the situation does not have to be this way, that there is a choice. The duality must become reality. [emphasis added] However, as we try to find a common denominator, Israel’s security needs and the reality on the ground must be addressed. The formula we have chosen is the Roadmap. The Roadmap is based on the understanding that the path to establishing a Palestinian state passes through ensuring Israel’s security.
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The Israeli excuse industry is going into overdrive

Naomi Chazan wrote this for Haaretz newspaper: “Now that the possibility of the Annapolis conference is becoming a near probability, the Israeli excuse industry is going into overproduction. A barrage of reservations, hesitations, objections and qualifications is being churned out by a variety of different worry entrepreneurs. All deserve attention; none should be allowed to derail the initiative before it has even begun. Not only is the credibility of Israel’s persistent claim to peace at stake; so, too, is the present auspicious chance for its pursuit.

“The first set of self-imposed barriers to the resumption of full-scale negotiations is psychological. Segments of the Israeli public are suspicious of current efforts and are doubtful of their utility. They have little confidence in diplomatic moves, and even fewer expectations.

“This fear of peace syndrome is not new. It has surfaced regularly whenever real opportunities for accommodation have presented themselves in the past. It has been fueled by setbacks and disappointments. It stems from that historically rooted Israeli sense of vulnerability verging on paranoia which nurtures a willingness to suffer the insecurities of the present rather than to boldly mold what appears to be an uncertain future.

“The best response to this ubiquitous yet elusive mindset is diplomatic success. This was the case with Egypt and Jordan; it can pertain to the Palestinians as well. There is little, if any, cost to entering the process. Israelis, like their equally equivocal Palestinian counterparts, have neither the luxury of skepticism nor the life experience that fosters unbridled optimism.

“The second group of potential impediments is perceptual. Israelis are having difficulty adjusting to the reactivation of serious negotiations with the Palestinian Authority after having been told repeatedly by successive leaders that there are no trustworthy partners on the other side”…

Naomi Chazan’s piece in Haaretz is here

Start with the Palestine Mandate

… if you want to understand Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Almost every complicated and intricate position can be traced back to what happened in the First World War and its aftermath. Facts that are being created on the ground now are continuation of strategies and ambitions that were forged in the early days of British conquest and administration in Palestine and Transjordan (and French conquest and administration of neighboring Syria and Lebanon).

The League of Nations, created by the victorious allied powers after World War I, and the United Nations, its successor organization created after World War II, took decisions that are now despised, reviled, misunderstood, cast aside as “ancient history” — yet which form the basis of what Palestinians call “international legitimacy”.

This blog will attempt to understand what is happening in the light of what did happen — and to report on the Middle East peace process.