Livni rejects Olmert's call for total surrender

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, head of the ruling Kadima Party, distanced herself on Tuesday from remarks by caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the effect that Israel should meet nearly all Arab territorial demands.

Livni told Army Radio that Olmert's positions regarding the peace process are today irrelevant, and that she will not allow the deposed prime minister to influence the policy decisions of the next government to be elected in February.

A day earlier Olmert used a memorial ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a platform to push his defeatist positions.

"We must concede parts of the homeland we have prayed for and dreamt of for generations," said Olmert. "We must relinquish Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem, and return to that territory which comprised the State of Israel until 1967, with the necessary amendments stemming from the realities created on ground."

Livni has for the past couple of years largely sided with Olmert on those views, but may be wary of the prime minister attempting to resurrect his political career before being officially pushed out of office.

If that was Olmert's intention, it appeared to have worked with at least some on the left side of the political spectrum, with the left-wing Peace Now movement hailing the prime minister's speech as "historic."

Olmert's critics on the Right, meanwhile, pointed out that Olmert was grossly misrepresenting the legacy of Rabin, whose own political doctrine far more closely resembled that of right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues.

In his final Knesset speech just days before he was murdered, Rabin stated forcefully that Israel "will not return to the June 4, 1967 lines."

Rabin also pledged that he would never surrender any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, nor "uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement."

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