Forty years have passed since Israel forces swept to victory in the 1967 war and took possession of the West Bank and thousands of Palestinians. Forty years have passed with negotiations and discussions and promises and assurances by both Palestinians and Israelis that if left alone they will figure out a solution to their problems. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke openly about her hope newly elected president Barack Obama will keep his hands off the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “You don’t need now to do anything dramatic about it. The situation is calm. We have these peace talks.” If she wins the general election in February she will become the new prime minister of Israel. Of course, if she loses, Benjamin Netanyahu who opposes giving up land or control of east Jerusalem will become the new prime minister.
Livni emphasized there was no need for outside groups to “bridge the gap between us. Don’t put new ideas on the table. We know what we are doing.” In response to a question concerning return of Palestinian refugees, Livni said they had left in 1948 and it was no longer an Israeli problem and that “not even one of them” will be allowed to return.
The comments of Foreign Minister Livni reflect the detachment from reality of some Israel political leaders. They have been talking for years without much progress. They NEED NEW IDEAS ON THE TABLE because the existing ones are not satisfying either party. A blunt statement such as “not even one of them” can return is certainly not an expression of peace that will attract the attention of Palestinian leaders. Sorry, Ms. Livni, both sides need new ideas.