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December 24, 2014 11:17 am

Livni Reveals Pivotal Role of Abbas in Sabotaging US-Sponsored Peace Talks

avatar by Ben Cohen

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"Your choice in the end was to get nothing," a frustrated Tzipi Livni is reported to have told Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Twitter

Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli Justice Minister and lead negotiator with the Palestinians who is now running as a Prime Ministerial candidate in Israel’s forthcoming March elections, has revealed that the Palestinian leadership “caused the failure” of American-sponsored peace talks “at a critical moment.”

Livni’s centrist Hatnua party is running in alliance with the the Labor Party for the elections. In the event that the bloc wins the ballot, Livni will rotate the prime minister’s post with Labor leader Isaac Herzog every two years.

Speaking to New York Times reporter Roger Cohen, Livni said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had been presented with an American-authored framework agreement at a meeting in Washington, DC on March 17. The framework – which has not been made public – set out the administration’s views on major issues, including borders, security, settlements, Palestinian refugees and Jerusalem.

“Livni considered it a fair framework, and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu had indicated willingness to proceed on the basis of it while saying he had reservations,” Cohen wrote. “But Abbas declined to give an answer in what his senior negotiator, Saeb Erekat, later described as a ‘difficult’ meeting with Obama. Abbas remained evasive on the framework.”

In Livni’s view, Cohen said, this “amounted to an important opportunity missed by the Palestinians, not least because to get Netanyahu’s acceptance of a negotiation on the basis of the 1967 borders with agreed-upon swaps — an idea Obama embraced in 2011 — would have indicated a major shift.”

Nonetheless, talks continued. By April 1, the Israeli side was ready to release a draft statement “saying that a last tranche of several hundred Palestinian prisoners would be released; the United States would free Jonathan Pollard, an American convicted of spying for Israel more than 25 years ago; and the negotiations would continue beyond the April 29 deadline with a slowdown or freeze of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”

It was at this point that Abbas dropped his bombshell.

Livni, Cohen said, was watching a television news broadcast as she waited for a cabinet meeting. She saw “Abbas signing letters as part of a process to join 15 international agencies — something he had said he would not do before the deadline.”

Livni immediately contacted Saeb Erakat, asking him to stop the Palestinian unilateral move. Erakat, Cohen reported, “texted her the next day to say he couldn’t. They met on April 3. Livni asked why Abbas had done it. Erekat said the Palestinians thought Israel was stalling. A top Livni aide, Tal Becker, wrote a single word on a piece of paper and pushed it across the table to her: ‘Tragedy.'”

Livni met Abbas in London on May 15. “I said to him,” she told Cohen, “the choice is not between everything and nothing. And your choice in the end was to get nothing.”

Livni’s account of how Abbas caused negotiations to collapse contrasts sharply with the frequent claims of the Obama Administration that Netanyahu’s apparent intransigence was the major factor behind the failure.

In that regard, the headline of Cohen’s piece – “Why Israeli-Palestinian Peace Failed” – is instructive, since it in no way indicates Abbas’s culpability for the negotiations being replaced by his unilateralist strategy. Both the headline and the introduction to the article shift the emphasis onto Netanyahu. Before the reader even learns of Abbas’s wrecking tactics, Cohen highlights Livni’s attack on Netanyahu.

“Written on my wall is: Jewish Democratic State, two states for two peoples,” Livni is quoted as saying. “Written on Likud’s wall is: Jewish State, Greater Israel.”

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  • Appears that Livni is not a Biblical believer,rather a secular Jewess!Is there nothing to be learned from the Gift of Gaza to the PA and Hamas!

  • Benyamin

    The old saying ” The philistines never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” continues. As the nazis, without an enemy, they have no one to blame other then themselves.

  • Does not New York Times reporter Roger Cohen’s article reveal the seemingly eternal truth of Abba Eban’s famed observation: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”

  • H.Givon

    Livni is hardly a centrist; she is a leftwing politician who has not learned from past Israeli concessions that giving up land encourages more terrorism. The uprooting of 21 peaceful communities of Gush Katif in Gaza (2005) resulted in the takeover by Hamas which is the offshoot of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. Livni also signed on U.N. Resolution 1701 which provided UNIFIL protection of Israel’s northern border against terrorist Hezbollah. Result- a flop, the UN group failed and terrorist Hezbollah has been armed to the teeth by Iran. Pres. Obama would like to see Livni in charge because she would acquiesce to his demand for a ‘peace process’ success for him. The conflict in the Middle East is not about territory but an ideology that cannot tolerate a democracy – Israel- in its midst. The long range goal of this ideology is the destruction of Western civilization and the creation of a worldwide caliphate with global sharia law. Israel is the bulwark of democracy in the Middle East and, in the interest of the West, must be kept strong and secure. Livni’s left leanings would not only weaken Israel but endanger Western democracies some of which are already experiencing the pressure of Islamization.


    The very fact of criticizing Netanyahou gives the Jews of the Diaspora a feeling of self-efficacy: in other words, they feel that the problem can be solved, the solution is in our hands.

    This may relieve the level of anxiety. But that does not make sense. The Jews hold only one half of the puzzle.
    Abbas, just as Arafat did in 2000, is scared to come back to his people without the whole package they dream of. He could lose his head (literally) if he does not.

    The basic problem is the lack, the total absence of democracy among the Palestinians. If they were allowed to debate between themselves, a compromise would arise. However, only the most violent leaders win the game.

    Democracy does not fit in Arab culture where the Power Distance is so high. They expect a leader to be strong and they submit to him. Submission is a key dimension of this culture.

    On the other side, in the Israeli society, where the Power Distance score is the lowest, the people follow their interests (personal and collective) not leaders. They are ready for compromises if they fit their interest.

    That’s the real dilemma.

  • Afonso

    Israel needs statesmenship and not remain in the hands of small gambling politics.

  • TheAZCowBoy

    Klein: “Moving Jews out of ‘their’ homes?!!

    I must say you bastard parasite Jews have a lot of ‘Huevos!’

    • Penny

      Hey AzCow you are a dumb boy!the homes Jews were moved out of were their homes, and have been their homes for thousands of years or don’t you good il’ boy read and believe in the bible? You sir are obviously illiterate! And you don’t have the ‘Huevos’ to admit your stupidity!

  • TheAZCowBoy

    FUGG’m Jews. One supposes the theft of billion$ in Egyptain gas was the fault of the Jewee’s and not the Jewor’s, huh scumbags?

    • Penny

      And the only scum bucket is you!

  • art

    Livni has done more than enough damage already. For months she has blamed Netanyahu, her headlines blamed Netanyahu read Israel explanations now are too late damage was done Israel already found guilty

  • Bullfrog Europe

    Until the likes of Qatar stop funding terror, it is a stalemate.

  • Max Cohen


  • Jay

    She is unbelievable. Livni is telling us that it wasn’t Prime Minister Netanyahu who caused the demise of the peace talks. Yet, she continues to criticize and accuse the prime minister for the failure of the process. God help us if she becomes the next prime minister.

    What is more incredible is that Netanyahu agreed to move forward with the American framework and they still blame him for the failure of the peace process.

    It doesn’t matter what he does, Netanyahu still gets blamed. No wonder his hair is turning white.

  • peacelover2345

    Until the end of this article, the author discusses how both Livni and Netanyahu were ready for a difficult compromise to get a peace deal, which was then scuttled by Abbas.

    How then did we get to absolving Abbas and blaming Netanyahu?

    There is something important that is missing here.

    • Lynne T

      Reread the article. It was Roger Cohen of the NYT who chose to focus on Livni’s own electioneering, refering to Likud’s coalition with Beit Yehudi, which is campaigning to annex the entire West Bank.

  • Vittore

    But she hasn’t said anything new. This whole thing first became known via a very, very thorough article in The New Republic several months ago. But it’s good that she spoke about it.

  • David Goshen

    There is a basic problem with the negotiation and that is the mistake in many negotiations worldwide that the local indigineous population should not be moved and that in so doing the customs religion traditions etc should be preserved thus avoiding major upheavals.The basic mistakes made in the division of Kosiva and Serbia have to be taking an area in north Kosova entiely occupied by Christian Serbs in south Serbia and placing it under Muslim Kosova Rule.a receipe for a future conflict area and a reason that the division has not been recognized by the majority of nations.
    The principle to be followed in the Palestinean /Israeli settlement is to prefer the non movement of large populations eg East Jerusalem and Yehuda & Shomron and settling for land exchanges.The mistake of Kosova/Serbia is likely to be made with rge Christian Arab Armenian Community of East Jerusalem.As the PA has engaged in ethnic cleansing of its Christian Arabs with the aim of not leaving any non Muslim minorities in the New Palestinean State any settlement needs to take into account the human rights of communities like this preventing any settlement which would result in the whole Armenian community disappearing after persecution in a generation.Israel too has to adopt the same approach regarding the Arab villages which were attached to Jerusalem although they they had never been part of Historical Jerusalem Propper.The reasons are similar.There are several hundred Muslim Arabs whose numbers are growing made up of stateless persons wh rejected Israeli Citizenship when the unification was carried out.Permanent residents are in most of the world citizens of other countries who chose to live in another country but who continue to hold a passport of the country from which they heil enabling them to travel the world.Not so the Palestineans who cannot travel at all .
    More important they cannot vote in Israeli Knesset Elections.A large population growing all the time is a receipe for large unrest and someting not acceptable to the world community of nations.
    It is quite clear that Abu Mazem cannot accept territoral exchanges and so the negotiations do not progress.Another Abu Mazem problem is Gaza Hamas which he needs to represent if he wants to get UN recognition.Hamas was never a party of Oslo Accords to which the objected and any settlement will need an official split between the PA and Gaza leaving Abu Mazem representing Yehida & Shomron only thus enabling him to get UN reconition eventually.

  • rachel robinson

    where are the rest of the 2l comments? why do we see only two? what is the sense of commenting if they are not published?? too bad, this must be something the management is not willing to show the readers for some reason. I wonder what that reason is.

  • Aron Levy

    Two state can only work if Jordan take over ..There is no way to let the Palestinian authority to be in going to be a suicide move for Israel .Jerusalem should never split ..Its the capital of Israel ..It taken many years to get it back ..I’m glad i was a part of it in 1967 …

  • Denis Bieber

    Roger Cohen is a dangerous Palestinian apologist shouting loud through his NY Times platform. He thinks that in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, and he’s the one with one eye. Unfortunately his one eyed bias against Israel is annoyingly troublesome and mostly, 99% of the time, says the wrong end of the truth. No wonder he and his newspaper, The New York Times, continue to perpetuate their left leaning anti-Zionism.
    Livini’s claim that Likud’s wall states “Jewish State, Greater Israel’ is typical of her misleading damaging rhetoric. Its clear to even the completely blind that Livini was an incompetent useless negotiator and now seeks a scapegoat for her failure. Thats why she blames her friend Abbas. Actually, its good news that both she and Abbas were so incompetent. Whats more troubling from that debacle is that President Obama failed to recognize that Netanyahu was ready to move forward and the Palestinians were not, and then sought a fight with him to impress his fading electorate and the Iranian nuclear negotiators.

    Both Livini and Roger Cohen are playing politics to try and influence the temporarily confused Israeli electorate with their self serving subjectivity at this crucial time when scary geopolitics needs serious formidable attention. This is not the time to fall back to the failed Oslo proposed borders, unless of course that both Herzog and Livini relocate to the other side of the border they propose.

  • Wolff Bachner

    If Livini wants to see Jews killing Jews, let her divide Jerusalem. It will cause a civil war among Jews in Israel. aND, THIS IS NOT ANY SORT OF THREAT FROM ME. It is simply the inevitable.

    Livini is so desperate for power she will destroy Israel and rip the heart of of the Jewish people by dividing Jerusalem, just to be Prime Minister. Anyone who votes for her is a fool. Livini is a traitor and a fool.

  • viv

    Unfortunately, Livni is NO GOOD, she can destroy Israel.she has No understanding of the geography and the security boarders needed for Israel.
    A LEADER should have an integrity and knows how to speak on TV and not visit the gutters.She is obsessed with fame and with the PM position. I really hope that Israelis won’t make a mistake!this will be a mistake one which will be hard to recover!

  • Joel Keller

    Livni’s motivation is to gain power and not much else. She would apparently allow Israel to commit suicide, if she got her way.

  • ed halperin

    One could see the unwillingness to come to some conclusion as an event that says the Palestinians are the only group to be defeat by Jews. who Mohamed viewed are inferior beings. It is a macho attitude rather than anything related to acquiring a stable country or helping their population improve their condition. It is a psychological issue, and one of power rather than rational coherence.

  • steven L

    Fair has a different meaning for Israel and the Muslim world. She refuses to admit this fact. In the eyes of the Muslims, “fair” is anything without Jews! The Muslim fanatics will consider that even on planet Mars Jews are unacceptable.
    Fanaticism must be destroyed physically like the Nazi and Japanese fanatics were destroyed. There is no other solution.

  • Vivarto

    Thank you Abbas from saving Israel from Netanyahu and Livni!

  • steven L

    In the mean time:”After the Holocaust, the world met in Geneva to affirm the laws of war. And last week, for only the third time in history, the UK, France, Germany and another 123 signatory states to the Fourth Geneva Convention assembled in order to call out a perpetrator.” A conclusion of the ” Fourth Geneva convention from a few days ago.

  • Joshua Abrams

    Ms. Livni has become a real politician. It’s her way or the highway. I.e. If she won’t be PM then Madame Tzipi will do everything to injure politically Netanyahu regardless of the damage to the Israelis and to its people.

    Her desire for power has compromised her thinking and positions to make them unrecognizable from a few short years ago.

    Oh well. It’s only politics and the security of the Jewish people takes a back seat. After all what’s really important is that her non yet observant and committed Jewish backers from the “tikkun olam” crowd give her their support and monies saved NOT spent on giving their children a Yeshiva or day school education or giving the kind of Tzedakah that the more committed people give for the infrastructure for maintaining a Jewish life and community in the USA and Israel.

    There is more to say but this should suffice.

    What we really need is true leadership for Israel, not small politicians leading the country at this very crucial moment!

  • Michael Chenkin

    In 1959 Mahmoud Abbas and Yasir Arafat founded Fatah, which subsequently became the backbone of the PLO and ultimately the Palestinian Authority. During this entire period Abbas and Arafat have had only one objective, to keep the struggle against Israel alive. They and their PLO/PA leadership do not and never wanted peace with Israel and never wanted a negotiated settlement with Israel. The only item of consequence in this article, and its nothing new, is the revelation of how ignorant and totally incompetent Livni is. There is however a troubling question. Revealing that Abbas sabotaged the negotiations is helpful to PM Netanyahu. While would Livni say something helpful to the PM?

  • Wm. J. Levy

    The greatest shame that Jews should have is that Obama has used Jonathan Pollard as a bargaining chip.

    Jews may be billionaires and important players in the Democratic Party but in truth they are nothing and have nothing.

    Every American Jew should be ashamed that Pollard has rotted away his life in a prison in fear for his life because he is a Jew.

    I don’t want to have more respect for any people than my Jews and they constantly disappoint me.

    Where are the Jews who are going to march on the White House and demand Pollard’s release?

    Oh yes, they’re too busy being successful just like the 600,000 Germany Jews in Nazi Germany.

  • Maxime

    It is obvious that the Palestinians are not interested by a peace agreement, nor by a State. They prefer the status quo where they receive billions dollars from the stupid Europeans and Americans. If they have their own State, nobody will have a look on them and the dollars flow will stop. Then the only way to come to an agreement is to stop the Dollars Flow!

  • Dr. Stephen Steinlight

    Livni’s revelation, no surprise to anyone with a pulse, suggests why should would be a disaster as Prime Minister. She was ready to sign off on a deal with a person who wasn’t prepared to give ANYTHING. And if he had signed he would have had “buyer’s regret” and cancelled the deal whenever it would work to his advantage. No Palestinian is ready to deal and there never will be such a person. Netanyahu’s dismissal of Palestinian gestures stems from his absolute conviction that they will remain mortal enemies. Livni & Co want to delude themselves in that peculiarly Jewish way — how I wished Israel would create a new kind of Jew — that they are more moral than their foes and thus must give expecting nothing in return. She is a fool, and so is anyone that would support her or share office with her.

  • Eve Rose

    Livni is concerned about her place in the government of Israel. She has no regard for the will of the people. She is a political Ho. Swings with the wind. Disgusting person. G-d only help us if she get elected. It will be the Nerd and the Ho.

  • Roger Cohen’s op-ed makes it clear that 100% of the blame for the failure of peace talks falls on Abbas. He therefore concludes that we should blame Israel’s rightists.

  • Bear Klein

    “The Livni Solution” Divide Jerusalem, move 100,000 + Jews out of their homes. Watch Hamas take over Judah and Samaria. Then fight the next war from a worse strategic position and see 1000s of people die. That is the gist of her intended actions


      @Bear Klein. Livini is far more devious and destructive than you can imagine. Her back channel pleas to the US to force-feed “solutions” down Israel’s throat are treasonous. It is after great reluctance that I publicly question her mental health. I certainly believe that if an American would do to the United States what she pulls on Israel, he/she should be shot for treason. I will never understand American liberal Jews who endorse her views. I have more difficulty understanding why any Israeli would willingly commit suicide.

    • Kris K Hinson

      G-d forbid. Jerusalem must never be divided. The Palestinians have no G-d given right to be where they are now let alone be gifted with half of Jerusalem. Israel’s Arab neighbours to a big risk to wipe Israel from the map; they lost, thank G-d, and with it lost their deposit which saw the unification of Jerusalem. I know the “Palestinians” must be told that Jews are not merchandise that can be moved from one warehouse to another or be recalled for whatever reason. We must pray to G-d for this nonsense to stop once and for all. Another thing, why is the US still holding Jonathan Pollard? Friends and allies treat each other with LOVE, RULES WRITTEN ON A STONE. The US should be building bridges with Israel, not destroying them.

    • racy

      Don’t worry! No way will she become Prime Minister.
      No way will she be the negotiator. Israelis are not stupid.

    • Kyrinn S. Eis

      Absolutely correct.
      I cannot imagine what Israel would be like if she were to win.

    • Livni is like a fart in a whirlwind.