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Palestinian officials dismiss Livni's appointment

Feb. 21, 2013 9:11 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2013 2:34 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian leaders have reacted negatively to the appointment of Tzipi Livni as the head of the negotiations file with the Palestinians, describing it as a step backwards.

Livni was responsible for the negotiations portfolio in 2006 and 2009, two years when little progress was made toward achieving a deal between the Palestinians and Israel.

In an interview, Abbas Zaki, central committee member, said that Livni was experienced in "cheating and disinformation" and taking this position again would be considered against the Palestinian position.

“Palestinians will be the only losers and they will start from zero," said Zaki. "Our message is clear regarding negotiations and we are committed to freezing settlements and and resolving the detainees issue."

He pointed that Israel is experiencing a big dilemma, where the US and Europe are beginning to blame Israel itself for the conflict rather than the Palestinians' positions.

He added: "We hope that Netanyahu will fail in forming his government because it has nothing to do with peace and the two-state solution. He only wants to solve Israel’s financial crisis."

"Our needs are obvious," says Zaki. “If Livni will negotiate on the basis that the Palestinian state is based on the 1967 borders then we will be back to real negotiations.”

He called on Palestinians to protest US President Barack Obama's visit to the region, saying it was better to march against the occupation instead of the huge marches happening against Salam Fayyad’s government.

Kinesset member Ahmad Tibi meanwhile called Livni’s return to the government "an attempt to beautify the face of Netanyahu’s government. It is only an election step," he said.

Tibi added in an interview that the previous experience with Livni had no good results, and he called her worse than former prime minister Ehud Olmert. "I doubt that she will make it now with Netanyahu and achieve peace," he said.

Livni was among the first to call for recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, he added.
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