By Gidi Weitz and Na’ama Lanski, Ha’aretz, 25 October 2007
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel, Haaretz magazine reveals in an article on Livni to be published tomorrow.
Livni also criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears. Last week, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said similar things about Iran.
The article also reveals for the first time a document Livni prepared and sent to Olmert a few months after the Second Lebanon War proposing a new division of labor between the two. “Enclosed is a proposal for work procedures between us, with the aim of providing an answer to Israel’s strategic needs and facilitating early planning and the formulation of coordinated Israeli positions … within the framework of cooperative relations, full transparency and continuous mutual updates,” wrote Livni.
She described in the document a number of required arrangements: “The prime minister and the foreign minister will hold regular work meetings at least once a week.” In an allusion to her absence from critical discussions during the war in Lebanon, she wrote: “The foreign minister will be invited to meetings with the prime minister on security matters and other meetings with serious implications.”
The most important part of the document relates to the talks with the Palestinians. Livni wrote: “The foreign minister shall represent the prime minister and the government of Israel, and will act on their behalf as the director of the dialogue with the relevant Palestinian representatives, and in accordance with the policy and methods to be coordinated in advance with the prime minster, while keeping him informed.”
It is reasonable to assume that Olmert’s decision to appoint Livni as head of the negotiating team with the Palestinians at the Annapolis summit is connected to the document.
The Haaretz article also reveals for the first time a draft of a document prepared for Livni by her advisor, Dr. Tal Becker of the Foreign Ministry, who is slated to serve as a senior member of the negotiating team with the Palestinians. The draft, named the Diplomatic Horizon, is pessimistic about the chances of reaching a permanent solution in the near future.