Israeli Foreign Minister Discusses Middle East Peace Efforts at Kennedy School Forum

March 13, 2008

Harvard Kennedy School last night hosted Tzipi Livni, the vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs for the State of Israel. Livni delivered a public address in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum. A sampling of media coverage is below.

Reuters

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday criticized a plan to expand a Jewish settlement in occupied land as unhelpful but insisted it would not prejudice a final peace deal under negotiation with Palestinians. …

In an apparent bid to ease pressure from Israel on the issue that has threatened to derail fragile peace talks, Livni told students at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

"It's not the Israeli government policy to expand settlements these days." …

She added that Israel would "need to dismantle more settlements" under a peace deal for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that U.S. President George W. Bush has said he hoped to see before he leaves office in 2009.

Harvard Crimson

Livni, Israel’s second female foreign minister, 40 years after Golda Meir, spoke last night about Israel’s regional conflicts as well as the attention it garners from the international community.

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the sexiest conflict in the world, and everybody wants to be involved,” Livni said.

Livni said that she expects the international community to support Israel’s refusal to negotiate with Hamas, the party that effectively controls the Gaza Strip, because “it’s not only about Israeli security, but also about the stability of the entire region.”

Livni, who labeled Hamas “extremists,” said that Israel’s policy is to talk with the Fatah, the Palestinian party that controls most of the West Bank.

“The idea now is to negotiate with the more pragmatic leaders,” she said.

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Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart