Livni says construction beyond settlement blocs harming Israel’s security 13Dec13 December 13, 2013

Haaretz    -    12 December 2013

3715832852Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the minister responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians, sharply criticized Naftali Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi party on Wednesday, claiming that its members are trying to derail the peace process. Livni also said that the continued construction beyond Jewish settlement blocs harms Israel’s security.

“There is one thing that harms our ability to rally the world in support of the security arrangement necessary for Israel: More unchecked and irresponsible announcements of more construction in the settlements, mainly in remote settlements,” she said during a conference by the One Voice organization at Tel Aviv University.

Livni claimed that the ongoing, politically-motivated settlement construction “is meant to serve a small portion of the Israeli public and of this coalition,” and does not serve Israel’s interests. According to Livni, the government must choose between more construction in remote settlements and fortifying Israel’s security. “The insistence on more construction is meant to derail negotiations,” she said.

The Justice Minister attacked Habayit Hayehudi, saying the party has assumed the right to veto the peace process. “They veto peace when they prefer isolated settlements over blocs, they veto peace when they prefer isolated settlements over a Jewish and democratic state,” she said.

Livni added that the government would soon have to make decisions on the Palestinian issue. “Decisions have to be made by a leadership that understands the price we will have to pay if the right decisions are not made,” she said. “We stand before a window of opportunity for peace and we must not miss it. I want those who sit beside me in the government to know that there is a political price [to pay] in a situation where decisions are not made in time. What is important in an agreement is that it keeps Israel a Jewish and democratic state. If no agreement is reached, it is unlikely we will remain a democratic state.”

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