Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni continues to strike out on her own path regarding Israel’s policy toward its enemies. Yesterday, she called for direct and immediate talks between Israel and the Palestinians:
Tel Aviv- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called Wednesday night for direct talks between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli media reported. “It will enable us to hear first hand what is happening there, what is possible and what isn’t. I don’t like mediators, nor do I like Arab media or intelligence,” Livni told a conference in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa.
During the Lebanon war she opposed Israel’s massive response to Hezbollah’s provocation and refused to become a cheerleader for the cause of war. This earned her the wrath of Ehud Olmert and her former rightist allies. Now, she continues to advocate for a more moderate position. This is quite astonishing when you consider the ardent nationalist family into which she was born. But it’s quite welcome nonetheless. One wonders what her political future can be since the prevailing bleak mood in Israel seems anything but receptive to proposals for dialogue or compromise. But more power to her and I hope she carries the day (eventually if not today).
While Israel has just lifted the air blockade of Lebanon allowing commercial flights to land in Beirut for the first time in weeks (actually a small trickle of flights have arrived over the past few days), it still refuses to life the naval blockade claiming there are not yet enough ships to interdict Hezbollah-bound sea shipments of armaments. The bottling up of Lebanon’s ports is far more significant to the Lebanese economy than the air blockade since commerce and trade centers around sea shipments rather than air. Israel promises to life the siege within 48 hours. It has made many similar past promises it has not kept. We’ll see what happens. I would like to see civilian shipping test the blockade by attempting to sail into Lebanese waters without asking Israeli permission. Let the Israelis know that their obdurateness will not be taken lying down.