The creation of two distinct nation-states is the most effective solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni at an event hosted April 13 by the Georgetown Israel Alliance.
Livni, who served as Minister of Justice of Israel from 2013 to 2014 and was the chief negotiator for Israel in 2014 peace talks with Palestinians, hopes to re-initiate negotiations with Palestinians and cooperate to create a two-state solution.
Ambassador and Georgetown professor Dennis Ross moderated the event. The event was co-sponsored by the School of Foreign Service, the Georgetown Israel Alliance, the International Relations Club, the College Democrats and the Institute for Politics and Public Service.
Livni is also the current leader and founder of Israel’s Hatnuah Party, a liberal party formed to offer a non-socialist alternative party to voters frustrated by the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, according to the Hatnuah website.
The creation of two distinct states is not just to end conflict between Israel and Palestine, but also to enable Israeli and Palestinian citizens to each have their own spaces, Livni said.
“The whole idea is not just to create another state in the Middle East,” Livni said. “The whole idea is to end the conflict on the basis of two states for two peoples, so that each state [provides a space] for different peoples.”
Livni also pushed back on criticisms she has received from Israeli citizens about the potential for compromise, which some view as a sign that they are losing land to the Palestinians.
“The idea of giving the territory to Palestinians is perceived as being too weak, giving the Palestinians,” Livni said. “When I preach for two states for two peoples, I am thinking about Israel as a Jewish democratic state, but I’m being blamed that I’m thinking about the Palestinians. My answer is that I want to find a way to divorce the Palestinians, not to get married to them.”
Livni discussed past proposals for a two-state solution that attempted to end conflict, including the Clinton Parameters, a proposal authored by Ross in 2000 that offered Palestinian leadership a five-pronged solution to try to quell the conflict. The proposal included the creation of an autonomous Palestinian state, wherein Israel would maintain control over everything outside of Gaza and the West Bank and Palestine would agree to accept any refugees who wished to settle in the territory.
Ultimately, the Clinton Parameters agreement stalled and was never implemented.
Livni views the two-state solution as the best way to end the conflict and address ongoing refugee crises within the region.
“The Palestinian state should be the full, complete answer to the desperation of the Palestinians, whoever they may be, those who live in the territories and those who live in refugee camps,” Livni said.
Cooperation will be key in achieving Livni’s hope for a Jewish democratic state, she said.
“On the way, I need to stop at certain stations and reach an agreement with Palestinians, because in order to have Israel as the Jewish democratic state and be the Jewish majority, I cannot give the entire land,” Livni said. “I need to separate from the Palestinians to reach an agreement.”
Ultimately, Livni concluded that she will be content if negotiations between Israel and Palestine can be achieved or if there is greater security in Israel.
“Hopefully, in the end, one of two things will happen,” Livni said. “We will find a party to reach an agreement with, or we will keep Israel’s security, and we will call the settlers living outside the fence to come to Israel and to focus on the vision of Zionism the way I understand it.”