(JTA) – Israel should have instituted a second settlement building freeze in exchange for U.S. guarantees, Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said on ABC News.
"In choosing between building more buildings or making peace, I prefer to make peace," Livni said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week with Christiane Amanpour" in a joint interview with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. "I believe that a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians is in Israel’s interest. It’s not a favor to President Obama. Israel needs to make these kinds of decisions in order to live in peace."
Livni, who heads the left-of-center Kadima Party, met privately with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over the weekend and attended the Saban Forum in Washington.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not extend a 10-month moratorium on building in the settlements despite guarantees from the Obama administration.
The current state of the Middle East peace process was due to the makeup of Netanyahu’s right-wing government, said Livni, who indicated that she had offered to form a national unity government with his Likud Party.
Fayyad did not answer directly when asked if the Palestinian leadership would unilaterally declare a Palestinian state.
"What we are committed to is statehood. Not a declaration of statehood, we’re looking for a state," he said. "We did make a declaration of statehood [in] 1988. This time we’re looking for a real state on the ground."
Fayyad said he was waiting to hear from Netanyahu on what the Israeli leader means when he says he is committed to a Palestinian state.