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POLITICS
 


Olmert and Livni Outline Future Israeli Policy

In his first public appearance as acting prime minister, Ehud Olmert outlined the basics of his party's political agenda, an outline which Tzippi Livni also voiced in the speech she delivered in her capacity as foreign minister. Both speeches were given at the sixth annual Herzliya Conference, which the Institute for Policy and Strategy of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya convenes and has become a sounding board for political agendas.

Both Olmert and Livni stated the need for a two-state solution in order to safeguard Israel's role as the homeland for the Jewish people. In order for Israel to be democratic and Jewish, it has to retain a Jewish majority. In order to do this, we cannot continue to rule over thousands of Palestinians, Livni stated. The importance of a Palestinian state is its ability to serve as the Palestinian homeland. A two-state solution means one state for the Palestinian people and one state for the Jewish people. This is diametrically opposite to the Palestinian way of thinking, and that of many in the Israeli left; for them a two-state solution means one state for Palestinians only and one for Israeli Jews and Palestinians.

The aftermath of the Palestinian elections is the key to how Israeli policy will be implemented. A cessation of terror and the dismantling of the terrorist organizations will lead to an Israeli attempt to come to an agreement with the Palestinians. However, if this does not happen, Olmert and Livni have left the door open for Israel to decide on its own where its eastern border will be. In any case, it will not include Palestinians and it will not include Israeli settlements deep in the heartland of Judea and Samaria.

Two other interesting statements made at the Herzliya Conference should be noted. Both Olmert and Livni emphasized that the solution to the Palestinian refugee problem lies with the Palestinian state: There will be no right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees. The other issue that emerged in their speeches is that of the Israeli-Arab population. Creating two states side by side does not rule out the possibility of redrawing the border between the two states so that many of the Israeli-Arab towns and villages will be on the Palestinian side of the line. This idea became much more palatable to many Israelis last week, following the riots in Umm el Fahm sparked by the death of an Arab youth. He was shot by the Israel Police when he tried to shoot a policeman. The agreement that Olmert is seeking with the Palestinians will certainly put this issue on the negotiating table.


 

 

 

 


ERETZ Magazine 2010