Reposted by arrangement with Think Progress
Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, during a Knesset debate ahead of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, characterized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition as engaging in “diplomatic stupidity” and warned that government’s position is putting “the United States into a corner.” She placed blame for the current predicament at Netanyahu’s feet, observing:
- The United States is making sure it won’t be singled out but how are we helping ourselves? We now need to initiate the political process. (Prime Minster Benjamin) Netanyahu tried to prevent this and now the Palestinians are at the United Nations.
Livni emphasized the importance of Israel’s friendship with the U.S., especially in light of the growing regional isolation faced by the Jewish state. She warned:
- Next to all these enemies Israel has friends, and at the top of that list is United States, who is willing to guarantee Israel’s security. They don’t understand Israel’s policy, they don’t understand why the stubbornness over settlements, they don’t believe the prime minister of Israel when he says ‘two states’ but doesn’t do anything about it. And this saddens me because I am a citizen of the state.
While blasting Netanyahu’s policies and his intransigence in the peace process, she urged him to reverse course and save an increasingly untenable Israeli position. She said:
- It is not yet too late to stop the process. It demands understanding of what happens when there is no process, and it also demands bravery to make a decision. I am skeptic, but perhaps this week you will succeed in rising above this terrible coalition.
Her comments, which roundly denounced Netanyahu’s failure to freeze settlement expansion or enter into good-faith negotiations with Palestinian negotiators, challenged the Likud party led government’s “story it is selling regarding the current reality” facing Israel in the Middle East. She said:
- The first part [of the story] says everything is alright. The second part says that everyone is against us: (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) Abu Mazen joined forces with Hamas, (Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan is an Islamist and in Egypt it is impossible to know what will happen, everyone is anti-Semitic and all that’s left [for Israel] to do is to wait and see what will happen. Israel is indeed correct, but the government is mistaken.
Abbas has made clear his intentions to seek a recognition of a Palestinian state, and the Obama administration has all but guaranteed a U.S. veto of the resolution. But Livni’s remarks give voice to a segment of the Israeli political and security establishment who have run out of patience with Netanyahu’s hard-line policies and lack of progress in the all-but completely stalled peace process.
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