Liberman: Kerry won't achieve deal in current peace talks, must temper expectations

By JTA
December 7, 2013 08:12

Foreign minister says lack of trust between Israel, Palestinians makes deal unlikely, but adds that talks are crucial to preventing violence.

1 minute read.



Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Liberman raising fist 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

WASHINGTON - Peace between Israelis and the Palestinians is unlikely, but talks must continue if only to manage the conflict, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said.


“Trust between the two sides is about zero,” Liberman said Friday evening at the annual Saban Forum, a gathering in Washington of Israeli and US persons of influence.


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Liberman said US Secretary of State John Kerry would not achieve an agreement within a year, as Kerry has anticipated, and cautioned against creating “expectations.” Liberman excoriated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as undemocratic and unrepresentative.


However, Liberman also said he was grateful to Kerry for restarting talks with the Palestinians, saying that dialogue was crucial to preventing violence.


“It’s crucial to keep this dialogue,” he said during his interview-style appearance. “It’s important to manage this conflict.”


Liberman said differences between the Obama and Netanyahu governments on Iran policy were clear, but – in an implied rebuke of Netanyahu, who has sharply criticized US policy – he said such disputes should be handled privately.


“I don’t like all the public discussion about the Iranian issue,” he said. “It’s impossible to discuss on TV screens.”


Netanyahu has said that an interim sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal negotiated last month between Iran and the major powers is a bad one and will allow Iran to advance toward a nuclear weapon.


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