Livni: Peace needed to achieve ‘Zionist vision’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni stressed the need for an agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to achieve the "Zionist vision of a Jewish and democratic state."

"The fight for peace is the only way to implement" that vision of a Jewish and democratic state, and "I don’t want to choose between those two values," Livni, the former foreign minister,  said in an address Monday to a large group of AIPAC leaders at the group’s annual policy conference.

As head of the opposition Kadima Party, Livni said she didn’t come to the conference to "speak to you as the head of the opposition — it is not the time and the place to do so." But she did echo U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s focus on the importance of keeping Israel both Jewish and democratic.

Livni also emphasized the importance of the "fight for the legitimacy of the State of Israel," noting that there is a "huge gap between what Israel is and its image elsewhere." She praised the United States for boycotting the Durban conference and rejecting the Goldstone report, adding that the latter attacked the right of Israel to defend itself.

She also pointed out that the Middle East is no longer divided by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but by the extremists — led by Iran. Livni endorsed the "need for crippling sanctions today" on Iran, and said that as long as the Iranian regime is threatening other states, it should be treated like a child and told to "stay in your room until you learn to behave."

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