Livni : Israel shouldn't rush into concessions for sake of summit
( Haaretz ) - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and other ministers expressed concerns over the fast rate at which negotiations with the Palestinian Authority are progressing, during a debate at Sunday's cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Speaking of the talks being held before the Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland, scheduled for next month, Livni stated her opposition to Israel "being dragged into making strategic concessions to the PA just for the sake of arriving at the summit with a piece of paper."
Livni also stressed, however, the importance of progress toward two states for two peoples, and the need to distinguish between the extremists and moderates in the PA.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said of the negotiations: "It is important for us to be careful and level-headed with regards to the Palestinians... we have to think before we act."
Minister of Strategic Threats and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman and Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben- Eliezer also expressed reservations about the conference. Lieberman said, "We must make sure that the summit will not become a forum where the whole world pressures us." Benjamin Ben- Eliezer maintained that "it's important that in the end we do not come out as losers."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai referred to the issue of incitement against Israel in the PA and said "We need to demand that [PA Chairman Mahmoud ] Abbas will work against incitement in Palestinian schools."
Meanwhile, Vice Premier Haim Ramon said in response to Livni's comments that "whoever thinks that the structure of the Palestinian National Insurance will be discussed during the summit is deluding themself . There is an Israeli interest in Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods being recognized by the Arab [states] and the international community - as there is also an Israeli interest in [Arab neighborhood] of Shoafat not remaining under our control."
Ramon added, "This is what is meant by 'diplomatic horizon.' There is no chance that only bureaucratic issues will be discussed at the summit, and when the Palestinians ask what is the diplomatic horizon , we will tell them that we won't say."