FM Tzipi Livni was interviewed on the negotiations with the Palestinians on the ‘Evening News’ program of the REKA (Immigrant Absorption) radio channel.
Yosef Eitan: What do you know of the new demand by the Palestinians to release terrorists with no relationship to the release of Gilad Shalit?
FM Livni: The Gilad Shalit issue is very sensitive, and is a subject that should not be discussed in the media. Ongoing negotiations are being held between the Egyptians and Hamas. The second part refers to the more pragmatic side of the Palestinian public, and Abu Mazen requested that Israel deliver the message that not only will it not release prisoners in return for the release of kidnapped soldiers, but also in response to positive processes. These are the issues that should be under consideration. It is important for Israel to send a message to the entire region, clearly expressing the fact that Israel does not interact only with those who attack it and kidnap its soldiers. Israel’s reputation in the region has meaning, and the messages it sends by its actions are important.
Eitan: Who are we negotiating with? It seems that Abu Mazen is barely in control of Judea and Samaria.
FM Livni: Correct. We are conducting negotiations with both feet on the ground. The negotiations must primarily represent Israel’s interests. We are not doing the Palestinians a favor. If for the first time the resulting agreement establishes all the security arrangements required for the future, if it determines the principle of two states for two peoples, including the determination of Israel as the national homeland of the Jews and the Palestinian state as the solution to the refugee issue – in short if the agreement conforms with these Israeli principles, then in my view we should sign, even if the actual implementation is postponed. In Annapolis, we stipulated that the implementation would first require a change in the realities on the ground, which is why this has three aspects:
- Determination of the principles of the agreement, even with weak partners.
- Implementation only after the situation on the ground has changed.
- At the same time, adopting a hard line with Hamas, which represents the religious, ideological and extremist entities in the region.
Eitan: If the subject of Jerusalem comes up in the negotiations, are we prepared to divide Jerusalem?
FM Livni: If there is one thing the negotiator should never do, in my opinion, it is to start giving, or dividing, or determining borders through the media. However, it is important to say something about Jerusalem in this context. I say this as someone who was born in Tel Aviv but believes that the existence of the State of Israel, and my existence in Tel Aviv begins first of all with the Temple Mount. This is true also on the historical-national level, in the connection of every Jew to the Land of Israel.
In the Oslo agreements, it was determined that Jerusalem was one of the issues on the table. We undertook to discuss this issue in the negotiations. But let’s put aside the slogans of "If we don’t divide Jerusalem, others will." There are places in Jerusalem that, in my opinion, relate not only to the history of the Jewish people, but also to the future of the Jewish people.
When I wrote Kadima’s political platform, I wrote that the discussion on the borders would fall under the following categories:
- The security of Israel
- The holy places, and Jerusalem above all
- The desire to leave the maximum number of Israelis in their homes. This relates to the settlement blocs.
These are the categories of all the negotiations, and I will not negotiate via the media for the simple reason that those on the opposite side take every Israeli concession, put it in their pockets and then expect more.