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Former Israeli PM likens Israeli-Palestinian conflict to 'painful divorce'

Israeli and Palestinian peace activists walk behind cardboard cut-outs depicting the Israeli controversial separation barrier as they wave a Palestinian national flag during a peace march at an Israeli road near a checkpoint
Thomas Coex (AFP/File)
At Baku Forum, former PM warns against falling into one-State 'tragedy'; MK Livni meets Azerbaijan President

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday likened the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a 'painful divorce,' warning that both sides must avoid getting stuck in a one-State reality, Israel's Ynet news reports.

Barak is attending the Fourth Global Baku Forum in Azerbaijan on global security. Israeli lawmaker Tzipi Livni also attended the conference, and met with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan.

"Even if it will be gradual, multi-step, it is necessary to begin the painful divorce from the Palestinians in order not to get stuck on a slippery slope on the way to the tragedy of one State," Barak said.

AFP/Getty

Participating in a panel discussion on conflict resolution, Barak jokingly told the conference that in the Middle East, "a pessimist is an optimist with experience."

Speaking on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Barak said: "It's time for a wake-up call, the leadership and the public on both sides. No one will solve it except for those involved."

Turning to the Syrian conflict and the threat of the Islamic State, Barak said that the futures of Iraq and Syria are difficult to predict.

"No one can tell if Iraq will fall apart into three entities and no one can predict if Syria will fall apart into a few entities," he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli lawmaker Tzipi Livni met with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. During the half-hour meeting, the two discussed the situation in the Middle East as well as alliances and arms trafficking to Azerbaijan by extremists.

Gali Tibbon (AFP)

President Ilham Aliyev said that Azerbaijan enjoyed "good relations with Israel," adding that the relationship would continue despite criticism from some of his allies which are hostile towards Israel.

Livni hailed Israel's relationship with Azerbaijan an example for other Muslim countries.

Azerbaijan is considered the Muslim country friendliest to Israel, and is Israel’s biggest oil provider.

In November, an Israeli delegation of four Knesset members, led by former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, travelled to Baku to oversee the Azerbaijani election which cemented strongman President Aliyev's grip on power and which was boycotted by major opposition forces.

Barak and Livni will continue to Stockholm and Berlin where they will attend conferences advocating against anti-Semitism and the Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Tobias Schwarz (AFP/File)

(Staff with agencies)

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