Israel official predicts 'dramatic decisions'
JERUSALEM — Israel will make “dramatic decisions” to reach a final peace agreement that will end the conflict with the Palestinians, Israel's chief negotiator said on Tuesday while warning that hawks inside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition are making her job more difficult.
Tzipi Livni's remarks were made as a senior Palestinian official said that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for their second round of peace talks. The first round was held last week in Jerusalem under a cloak of secrecy.
The Palestinian official, who is close to the negotiations, said the sides held two rounds of talks in Jerusalem but refused to disclose the precise location. He spoke on condition of anonymity because both sides promised Secretary of State John Kerry not to discuss details with the media.
Kerry spent months engaging in shuttle diplomacy between the two sides before they agreed to return to the table after a five-year freeze in negotiations.
Livni, speaking on Israel Radio, also refused to comment on the talks, saying that holding negotiations far from the media is meant to build mutual trust.
But she predicted there would be “dramatic decisions in the end,” and lamented the lack of support from hard-line elements in the coalition.
Talks collapsed in 2008 and remained stalled until now, mainly over the issue of Israeli settlement construction in territory the Palestinians demand for their future state.
The Palestinians had demanded a settlement freeze in exchange for resuming talks — a condition that Israel refused.
Kerry managed to get the Palestinians to drop their demand in exchange for Israel's release of longtime Palestinian prisoners involved in killing Israeli civilians and soldiers. Talks on a final deal are to last six to nine months.
Livni said that hawkish parties in the coalition are making the talks more difficult because of their opposition to establishment of a Palestinian state, the centerpiece of any peace deal.
Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party, the coalition's third largest, objects to conceding territory to the Palestinians. The party is allied with the Jewish settler movement.
Bennett is not alone. Many Israelis balk at the idea of withdrawing from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 2nd American journalist beheaded as ISIS jihadist taunts, ‘I’m back, Obama’
- Rights group accuses Islamic State of ‘ethnic cleansing’
- United Kingdom at risk, new poll finds
- Russian-backed separatists’ aggression evident in attack
- CDC chief urges heightened response to Ebola outbreak
- Obama to reassure NATO on Ukraine
- U.S. airstrikes target leader of al-Shabab
- Saudis arrest 88 accused of ties to al-Qaida
- Attack on Egypt security kills 11
- Foes of Pakistani PM labeled as ‘terrorists’ as protests continue
- Terror threat not foreign, Cameron tells Brits