Archive for the ‘Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’ Category

Israel says will boycott U.N. forum on racism

November 19, 2008

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that Israel had made a final decision not to participate in a U.N. forum on racism and urged other countries to boycott what she termed an “anti-Israel tribunal.”

The United Nations said it regretted the decision.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks to the media after ... 
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks to the media after her meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, October 26, 2008.(Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to be held in Geneva in April, is a follow-up to a 2001 summit in Durban, South Africa on the same issues.

Israel and the United States walked out of the first conference in protest over draft texts branding Israel as a racist and apartheid state — language that was later dropped.

In a speech to visiting U.S. Jewish leaders, Livni said she announced last February that Israel would not participate in the 2009 meeting unless it was clear it would not be used “as a platform for further anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic” activity.

She said documents prepared for next year’s forum showed it was “turning once again into an anti-Israeli tribunal, singling out and delegitimizing the State of Israel.”

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What, exactly, can Israel expect from the Obama presidency?

November 8, 2008

It was the signature line of the Obama campaign, a line that said nothing but signified everything: “Yes, we can.”

It was a line that US President-elect Barack Obama, preacher-like, majestically weaved through his early campaign speeches; a line he used as a refrain to build up, crescendo-like, to the conclusion of his victory speech.

US President-elect Barack Obama speaks to the press in Chicago. ... 

It was a line that appeared in blue placards by the thousands at Obama rallies and that was put to music in a video featuring A-list celebrities.

And now, with the election come and gone and the long, arduous campaign finally over, millions of Americans and people from around the world will be asking, “So, nu, can we?” Or, more accurately, “Can he?” Can he really, as promised, change the system, repair the world and transform the way Washington does business?

Israel is one place where that question is being asked with particular interest and concern, simply because our fate and the fate of the US are so intertwined. Here government officials and the average Rafi will be asking – each in their own way – the question of moment: Can we count on Obama?

By Amir Mizroch and Herb Keinon
The Jerusalem Post

In other words, first of all, can we count on maintenance of the current level of US support and assistance?

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Israel cautions against Obama dialogue with Iran

November 6, 2008

Israel said Thursday U.S. President-elect Barack Obama‘s stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

“We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue — in a situation where you have brought sanctions, and you then shift to dialogue — is liable to be interpreted as weakness,” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said, asked on Israel Radio about policy change toward Tehran in an Obama administration.

Reuters

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks during a Policy ... 
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni speaks during a Policy and Strategy Conference in Jerusalem October 5, 2008.(Baz Ratner/Reuters)

Her remarks sounded the first note of dissonance with Obama by a senior member of the Israeli government since the Democrat’s sweeping victory over Republican candidate John McCain in the U.S. presidential election Tuesday.

Asked if she supported any U.S. dialogue with Iran, Livni replied: “The answer is no.”

Livni, leading the centrist Kadima party into Israel’s February 10 parliamentary election, also said “the bottom line” was that the United States, under Obama, “is also not willing to accept a nuclear Iran.”

Obama has said he would harden sanctions on Iran but has also held out the possibility of direct talks with U.S. adversaries to resolve problems, including the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here in September 2008, congratulated president-elect Barack Obama on his success — rare praise between the two countries which are archfoes.  Ahmadinejad once said “Israel should be wiped from the map.” (AFP/Getty Images/File/Jeff Zelevansky)

The West believes Iran’s nuclear enrichment program is aimed at building atomic weapons, an allegation the Islamic Republic denies.

Israel, believed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, has said Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to its existence and that it was keeping all options on the table to stop it.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller, editing by Philippa Fletcher)