Fair Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal Seen as More Likely with Tzipi Livni

By Jones, Lucy | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 2008 | Go to article overview

Fair Israeli-Palestinian Peace Deal Seen as More Likely with Tzipi Livni


Jones, Lucy, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


THE EUROPEAN press was cautious in assessing Israel's new Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni on track to succeed Ehud Olmert after she won leadership of the governing Kadima party on Sept. 18.

"A Livni government would continue the current talks with the Palestinians, which she supported strongly as foreign minister," wrote the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen on the same day.

"She is said to be ready to give up territory, to move Jewish settlers and, if she wants a deal, she will also have to allow Palestinians their own capital in Jerusalem," he continued.

But, warned Bowen, "even if Tzipi Livni were able to make an agreement with the Palestinians, there is no guarantee that she could sign it and stay prime minister long enough to deliver her side of the bargain.

"Most Palestinians anyway are deeply skeptical about any Israeli idea of a peace deal," he added.

The UK's Independent of Sept. 19 agreed that Livni does not have the luxury of time. "She wants to break with the wheeler-dealing tradition of Israeli politics and restore public trust in the political process. She now has to strike a delicate balance between doing that and ensuring she can form an administration which will last long enough to present some serious progress on peace to the Israeli electorate at the next election in 18 months' time," it editorialized.

Nevertheless, the newspaper described Livni as "probably the best hope for peace among all the Israeli politicians."

According to Germany's Berliner Zeitung of the same day, many countries see huge promise in Livni. "In Europe in particular, she's being treated like a new beacon of light in the Middle East peace process...If Livni were the lead singer of a band, it might be called 'Tzipi and the Expectations,'" the newspaper quipped. "Despite the difficulties facing Livni, with her victory, the chance is now greater that those who want a fair peace deal will have greater say," it added.

In Luxembourg, the Luxemburger Wort of Sept. 19 said Livni was right to say that she would approach the job of prime minister with "great reverence." "Further reconciliation with the Palestinians, treatment of Iran's increasing nuclear power, and normalization of relations with Syria are the three largest geo-strategic challenges facing Israel," the newspaper opined.

"The long-term vitality of this high-tech nation sandwiched between the Golan Heights and the Red Sea depends on the clever handling of these dossiers," it pointed out.

Britain's Treatment of Iraqi Interpreters Called a Disgrace

"Few issues have more shamefully exposed petty, penny-pinching ingratitude by Whitehall bureaucrats than the fate of Britain's Iraqi interpreters," editorialized the London Times on Sept. 11.

Alone among countries with forces in Iraq, the newspaper noted, Britain held out against any offer of relocation or asylum for the interpreters, drivers and other locally employed staff who risked abduction, torture and murderous reprisals by extremists bent on punishing collaborators.

Following an outcry, the government set up a "locally employed staff assistance scheme" which the newspaper described as designed to restrict applications for asylum with "petty-fogging regulations."

"This case is a disgrace," said The Times. "Where are the compassion, decency and honor? At stake are good faith and national honor. The British public understands this. Whitehall, willfully, does not."

"Dangerous" Belief: Jury Came to Wrong Decision in British Terror Trial

There was regret in some British newspapers over the Sept. 8 conviction of three men of a massive terrorist conspiracy involving home-made bombs. Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain's convictions followed a huge terrorism inquiry, which led to sweeping airport restrictions. The three, along with an additional five men, were acquitted of charges of plotting to bomb transatlantic airliners. …

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