Livni: Give up half of ‘Land of Israel’

JERUSALEM – Tzipi Livni, who hopes to be appointed Israel’s prime minister-designate, said Monday Israel must give up considerable territory in exchange for peace with the Palestinians, drawing a clear distinction with her rival, Benjamin Netanyahu.

She told a convention of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations, “we need to give up half of the Land of Israel,” using a term that refers to biblical borders that include today’s Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

She explained that such a withdrawal would be for the good of Israel, to maintain it as a Jewish state.

Livni told the U.S. Jewish leaders that Israel must take the initiative and come forward with its own peace plan to head off international programs. “Any plan put on the table will not be in our interest,” she said.

Livni’s centrist Kadima Party won one more seat than the hawkish Likud, led by Netanyahu. He opposes large-scale territorial concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians. He believes negotiations should concentrate instead on building up the Palestinian economy

Netanyahu and Livni, the current foreign minister, both claimed victory in last week’s election. Each hopes to be picked by President Shimon Peres to form the next government.

Netanyahu appears to have the edge, because a majority of members in the new parliament agree with his views.

Netanyahu was addressing the gathering later Monday.

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