Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 19 / Trend , B.Hasanov, U.Sadigova/
If Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni acts in accordance with her statement that Israel should make territorial concessions to Palestinians, there may be a serious advance in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
By such statements Livni demonstrates a more liberal position in comparison with other Israeli political leaders. Her position may play an important role to ensure peace. But a practical proof to her position is more important than a statement about peace," Al-Ahram newspaper's political columnist Bashir Abdel Fattah told Trend in a telephone conversation from Cairo on Feb. 19.
Livni said that Israel would have to make territorial concessions to Palestinians in order to establish peace in the region, Interfax reported.
Following United Nations' decision to establish an Israeli state on Palestinian lands in 1948, a new hotbed of war between Arabs and Jews occurred in the region. Since proclaiming Israel as a state was contrary to interests of Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser started a war against Israel in 1968. Later Syria and Jordan joined the war. However, Arab countries' war against Israel was fruitless and Arabs lost even more territories.
Independent political analyst Zardusht Alizade of Azerbaijan believes that if Tel Aviv withdraws from territories occupied in 1967, position of radical Arab countries that do not recognize Israel as a state may change. The expert believes that Livni's statement is one of the steps taken to ensure peace in the Middle East. "This statement can be evaluated as a real step taken for peace. Sooner or later Palestinians will take the offer," said Alizade.
Israeli expert Ephraim Inbar believes that Livni's statement is an expression of willingness to make concessions to Palestinians in the negotiations. He believes it is possible to discuss the return of Israel to the borders that existed until 1967, but with a condition that status of settlements will be put on negotiations.
The status of settlements illegally built in the Palestinian territory was among focused issues in negotiations between Palestinian administration and Israel in Annapolis in November 2007.
Israeli expert said the peace process faces some serious obstacles. "Radicalization of Palestinians by Hamas is a handicap to peace. Moreover, Palestinians claim for Jerusalem which is not a matter of debate," Begin Sadat University Director Ephraim Inbar wrote to Trend in an email from Jerusalem on Feb. 19.
Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) Director Chris Doyle believes that Livni's statement was made for the domestic policy. "Israel made such kind of statements on numerous occasions. However, Tel-Aviv never followed them," Doyle told Trend in a telephone conversation from London on Feb.19.
The expert said that even if Israel moves back to the borders that existed until 1967, a series of other serious problems will remain unsettled. "It is difficult to ensure control over these territories. Even if the territories are returned, subsequent governing will become a basic problem," Doyle said.
Egyptian expert Bashir Abdel Fattah said that Livni made the statement as a result of the domestic political situation in the country. According to Fattah, there are other political experts in Israel who attempt to prove that their plans are more effective. Livni made a more liberal statement than these experts to consolidate her position after the elections. "Livni wants to show-case that she is more liberal than Lieberman and Netanyahu, but she should first prove her position in practice," Fattah said.
Baku-based R.Hafizoglu contributed to the article.
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