It was a beautiful day – actually, no, it was raining down hard – but it was a great day for the world when Tzipi Livni was elected as the new israeli Prime Minister. She clearly announced a willingness to separate herself from Ehud Olmert’s policies (FINALLY) and to start negotiating with Palestinians. The European Union of course welcomed this candidate with whom they knew they could perhaps start talking about the eventual recognition of a Palestinian State. Why? Don’t think you could ever solve this conflict without giving people back their state. That’s paramount. It’s non-negotiable, unfortunately, Israel refused to negotiate on this specific topic for about, say, I don’t know, five fucking decades, justifying their methods because of the Intifada and the fact that after all, it was the UN that created Israel (OH SNAP!)

There is a lot to love about Tzipi Livni. Contrary to the other women who recently tried themselves at politics – Segolene Royal, Sarah Palin – Tzipi Livni knows shit about fuck. 10 years practising as a lawyer, speaking three languages (hebrew, english and french), with previous experience as a low-level agent for the Mossad, Tzipi Livni is capable to have an interesting vision about Israel that doesn’t necessarily mean that she can see Palestine from her house (sic). Something just as interesting about Livni is that she is outspoken, well-informed, and is not scared of stating opinions that might alienate her from the majority. Talking about the attacks against Israeli soldiers in the Gaza strip, she replied that it was “Somebody who is fighting against Israeli soldiers is an enemy and we will fight back, but I believe that this is not under the definition of terrorism, if the target is a soldier.”(1)  This is a brand new re-definition of terrorism – or more precisely, what is not terrorism, something that Sarah Palin failed to identify when interviewed by CSPAN about Bill Ayers.

Recently, Livni made a bid for a coalition government. Her appeal has been refused by religiously extreme parties – United Torah Judaism, Meretz-Yashad’s and the Shas, all disagreeing on her vision of minimum welfare (should we say hi to Hilary Clinton?) and Livni’s infamous position on Jerusalem. It was indeed one of the PLO’s requests to establish east Jerusalem as the capital city of an hypothetical Palestinian State, something the Shas has always denied, but Livni was willing to start negotiating on. Livni could have chosen to compromise her own vision of Israel with Olmert’s legacy, but has chosen to organize more elections to decide of the composition of the Parliament she will preside (2). It was risky. It was democratic. It was courageous. It was a testament to what her rule over Israel might be like if she gets the majority she needs to bring about the change she is dreaming of.

It will also be a serious setback for the peace talks between Israel and Palestine, and with the United States’ current incertainty in terms of foreign policy, we are looking at a year or two of status quo in this part of the Middle East. But if anything, Livni’s choice to wait and see is perhaps a more mature and more intelligent choice than to rush into decisions with people whose vision she does not share, whose future she does not want. Considering the insane amount of financial aid Israel receives from the United States for their military expenditures, let’s consider those new elections as two steps back, looking at the bigger picture in the hope of walking three steps ahead.

(1) Journal of International Criminal Justice Advance Access published online on December 15, 2006, Oxford University press, The Multifaceted Criminal Notion of Terrorism in International Law by Antonio Cassese.

(2) Livni’s Gamble, from Times Online – October 28, 2008.

Advertisements