Leader of the Hatnuah Party and former-foreign minister Tzipi Livni yesterday set out her party’s platform on diplomatic relations and negotiations with the Palestinians at her campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Livni has made the renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians a major component of Hatnuah’s campaign. Yesterday, she outlined a three-stage diplomatic plan. The first phase would consist of securing full coordination with the United States. Livni said that the US will “confirm the commitments we received in the previous government from President Bush,” including full security arrangements, a declaration on the end of the conflict resulting in two national states, future borders in which major settlement blocs will be included in Israel and confirmation that Palestinian refugees will not be entitled to return to Israel.

In the second stage of Livni’s plan, the European Union would be recruited to back the Israeli-initiated negotiations rather than suggest their own diplomatic initiative. Livni said that Turkey, moderate Arab countries and potentially the Arab League would also be asked to lend their support to her plan at this juncture.

Livni then envisages a phase of talks with the Palestinians themselves. She said, “We will begin direct negotiations, without the international community’s involvement,” to work towards a demilitarised Palestinian state that will be established only after security conditions have been fulfilled. Livni also clarified that there would be no negotiations with Hamas so long as they refused to recognise Israel and denounce terror.

Livni summarised her plan saying, “As someone who has headed negotiations with the Palestinians…I am telling you – this is not pie in the sky.” She claimed that the alternative is “intervention from the world and Israel’s security interests will not be represented.”