Livni: Choose hope over fear

HERZLIYA, Israel (JTA) — Tzipi Livni said next week’s election in Israel is about whether or not to go for peace.

Without mentioning her main rival, Benjamin Netanyahu, by name, Livni cast the Feb. 10 vote as a choice between hope and fear, emphasizing that negotiations on a final-status peace deal with the Palestinians must continue.

"Israel must, as she has in the past, combine military might with diplomatic initiative," Livni said Monday evening in her address at the Herzliya Conference, an annual confab on Israeli state and security. But, she added, he who thinks Israel can have "security without some kind of peace process is fooling himself, fooling the public and doesn’t understand the world we live in."

Livni, the foreign minister who leads the ruling Kadima Party, is trailing the Likud’s Netanyahu by several points in the polls. Netanyahu advocates slowing the peace process with the Palestinians, while Livni has been the current Israeli government’s point person on negotiations with the Palestinians.

"I believe that standing on the sidelines and not doing anything is not an option, it’s a bad option," she said. "And if we don’t put a plan in Hebrew on the table, we will be forced to accept a plan in Arabic, French or English. And all these plans never will reflect Israel’s interests as Israel understands them."

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