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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Friendship ought to be a two-way street

There has been lots of attention in the press to the 'friendship' that has developed between US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Feigele Livni.
Livni seems to share many things with Rice, who calls the foreign minister a “friend” and a woman of peace. They have the same intensity and work ethic, the same difficulty in thinking beyond a doctrine once it has been formed, the same disciplined intelligence that sometimes appears to lack the subtlety of wisdom and the same penchant for talking about “values” and what is “right.”
At Annapolis, some of the 'values' were apparently lost, as Rice allowed Livni to be treated as she was treated growing up in Alabama in the 1950's. Livni - along with her Israeli colleagues - was humiliated by having to enter the conference through a service entrance so as to allow the Saudis to bring their apartheid policies to American soil. Livni listened silently as Rice compared the 'Palestinians' to southern blacks in the 1950's and 1960's and 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen to civil rights leader Martin Luther King. And she said nothing when the Saudi foreign minister - who speaks not a word of Hebrew - didn't even pretend to be listening by leaving his headphones off during the Israeli speeches at Annapolis. All of which has made Likud MK Uzi Landau question just what the meaning of Livni's supposed friendship with Rice is:
Every time I encounter a media report about the wonderful friendship between our Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, I recall a conversation between the leaders of Israel and France. David Ben Gurion spoke about “France, our friend and ally,” while Charles de Gaulle replied “France has no friends or enemies. France has interests.” Does Livni understand that?

Let’s start from Annapolis, at the closed-door forum of senior representatives at the conference. At its conclusion, Rice spoke about knowing what it’s like not to be permitted to walk on certain roads or pass through a junction because one is a Palestinian. She said she understands the humiliation and helplessness. The conclusion stemming from the memories of discrimination of a black child in the era of racism in America was clear: In the Middle East Israelis are the bad guys, while Palestinians are the innocent victim. Yet Livni remained silent.

A month earlier, in Jerusalem, Rice compared the Palestinian struggle to the Afro-Americans struggle for civil rights, while comparing Mahmoud Abbas to a moderate leader committed to peace like Martin Luther King! Yet Livni remained silent.

Let’s go back to 2003. President Bush proposed the Road Map. The plan undermined Israeli interests and the government found it difficult to support it. Livni came up with 14 reservations. Government members supported it and emphasized: The reservations constitute an inseparable part and required condition for implementing the Road Map. The Americans disregarded the reservations and turned to the United Nations Security Council, which passed the document without them

In light of the friendship between the ministers, we hoped the process would not be repeated. We were proven wrong. Two days after Annapolis, without consulting Israel, again the Americans attempted to pass the conference’s “declaration of intent” as a Security Council resolution. The prime minister thwarted this American attempt, but where was Livni? She knew about it yet didn’t report it, or worse, didn’t know at all? What does Israel gain from the friendship if Condi does not bother to coordinate such move with Tzipi? Yet Livni remained silent.

At Annapolis, the zenith of her achievements, Livni placed Israel and Palestinian terrorism on the same moral plain when she drafted, along with Abbas and Condoleezza, the conference’s “declaration of intent” that demands the parties confront terror and incitement, whether it is Israeli or Palestinian.

The document, just like the conference, focused on Palestinian interests: Establishment of a Palestinian state; discussion of all core issues such as the entry of refugees into Israel, which no Israeli government before was willing to even discuss; renunciation of our position and agreement to a timetable for completing negotiations, while completely ignoring the 14 reservations attached to the Road Map. Meanwhile, by agreeing that the Americans would be the arbitrator on disagreements between us and the Palestinians, the US took away Israel’s ability to make decisions on matters essential to its security.
Somehow, Livni never learned growing up that friendship is a two-way street. I can't really be your friend unless you are mine. I can't force you to be my friend. And if you betray my friendship and use me, if I have any sense of self-worth, I will drop you and seek a different friend. Livni doesn't seem to understand all that. She has allowed Rice to use her to ride roughshod over Israel. And Livni's willingness to be used by Rice like a teeny-bopper enthralled with a rock star has placed Livni's country in mortal danger.

Read the whole thing.


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