06.25.2020

Former Foreign Minister of Israel on Current Events There

“A serious violation of international law” is how U.N. chief Antonio Guterres is describing Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank. But after three close elections, a corruption scandal, and a forced “unity government,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to cement his legacy. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who was also Israel’s peace negotiator, discusses.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: I want to know what you think of this plan to annex major parts of the West Bank, as much as 30 percent, according to the prime minister, and what it means for what you have always believed in, and that is a two-state solution.

TZIPI LIVNI, FORMER ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: I believe that annexation of around 30 percent of the West Bank, the meaning is basically giving up hopeful peace in the future. I believe that this is completely against the interest of Israel. I, myself, believe in the idea of two states where two peoples living side by side hopefully in peace and security. And by doing this type of unilateral step, the meaning is basically that we — Israel would reach and pass the point of no return and this is something that those of us, also Israelis, Palestinians and others, and those who believe in peace based on the idea of two states for two peoples, for us this is something that is completely a huge historical mistake.

AMANPOUR: So, you call it an historical mistake and you say that it will affect and negatively impact on Israel itself. Beyond the fact that there won’t be, as you say, any return to the possibility of a two-state solution if this annexation goes on, how will it exactly negatively impact Israel?

LIVNI: Israel, the reason or the (INAUDIBLE) of the State of Israel, the basic values of the State of Israel, the identity of the State of Israel is being a Jewish democratic state. In order to keep these values living in harmony, not in contradiction, we need to have a Jewish majority. Annexation now is without many of the Palestinians living in the West Bank, but in the future, without the possibility or hope for a state of their own, the next thing would be one-state between Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, and the meaning would be annexation of millions of Palestinians. And since I believe Israel is a democracy, the meaning is also voting rights, one-state, binational state, ongoing conflict. And in the end, this could lead to losing the identity of Israel as a Jewish democratic state. And this is completely against what I believe in, what my parents believe in, what is written in the declaration of independence of the State of Israel.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with Fmr. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former legal adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organization Dianna Buttu about Israel’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank. She also speaks with reporter Mary Jordan about her new unauthorized biography on Melania Trump. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with former U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil about mitigating this pandemic.

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