CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - In a meeting Sunday with US envoy to the Middle East General James Jones, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni intimated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is not ready to handle security needs of a future state.
"Israel is obligated to respond to terror," Livni told the US envoy, "and every process must offer a unilateral response to its security needs," she said.
"The creation of a Palestinian state is not the 'required' answer to Israel's security needs," Livni said, adding that addressing security concerns is crucial "not just prior to the creation of the Palestinian state, but also after its establishment."
Livni's straightforward assessment Sunday doesn't jibe with U.S. President George W. Bush's directive to establish an independent Palestinian state by the end of his term in office, less than 10 months away.
Some Israeli political pundits are wondering whether the foreign minister's remarks were a prelude to an upcoming large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip or if she wants to distance herself from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Though the prime minister survived the January 30 publication of the Winograd Commission's findings, assessing the government's handling of the Second Lebanon War, many Israelis are leery of Olmert's plans to uproot Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and divide the nation's capital.
On Thursday, US envoy Lt.-General William Fraser III will arrive in the region to oversee the implementation of the US-backed road map for peace plan.
The road map calls on the PA to renounce terror and root out the terrorist infrastructure and requires Israel to halt development of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, i.e., any areas that came under Jewish sovereignty following the 1967 Six Day War.
Sources: YNet news service, israel insider