Israel should not rely on the US as much as it traditionally has, Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman said at the Sderot Conference Wednesday.
Americans have a lot of problems and challenges around the world that they need
to solve and they have problems at home. We need to understand them and our
place in the global arena,” Liberman said a week after returning to the ministry
following his acquittal on corruption charges.
The foreign minister, who
is filling in for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu while he is in Moscow, said
that “Israel’s foreign policy for many years went in one direction toward
Washington, but my policy has more directions.”
follow disagreements between the government and the US
on the need to continue
to sanction Iran.
Liberman explained that he is trying to build
connections with countries that are interested in Israel’s hi-tech innovation
and that don’t depend on the Arab world.
“It’s naive to think that
countries will help us because of altruism,” he said.
“Our foreign policy
needs to focus on finding allies and not just complaining and saying ‘come
support us.’” As for the peace process, Liberman said the calls for Israel to
make “painful concessions,” including territory, are “made up and come from
people who don’t know the history or the facts.”
“Settlements weren’t an
obstacle for peace with Egypt or Jordan. On the other hand, we evacuated
settlements in Gaza and got [rocket] fire. Historically, there is no connection
between settlements and peace agreements,” he said.
his habit of condemning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, asking
who he represents “I still haven’t figured it out.
It’s not the people of
Gaza, since he lost to Hamas in the parliamentary election and he keeps delaying
the presidential election out of fear of losing,” he said.
Shai (Labor) said Liberman is “throwing out the baby with the
“Public arguments with the US happened in the past, but there
is no other country on earth with such a broad common denominator with Israel or
that is so important to us,” he said.
“The US stands next to Israel in
dozens of incidents and issues every day and is our safest defensive
According to Shai, every declaration like that of Liberman’s
harms relations with Washington.