FM to take ‘calculated’ revenge on PM
LAST UPDATED: 07/02/2010 04:00
Lieberman furious over secret Turkey talks, doesn't intend to resign.
Foreign Minister and Israel Beiteinu party chairm Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to have a difficult time appeasing his
angry foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, when they meet at the prime
minister’s Jerusalem residence on Friday morning after Netanyahu failed
to tell Lieberman about an effort to repair relations with Turkey.Lieberman told
Israel Radio that he thought it was wrong to hold
high-level meetings with Turkish officials immediately after Turkey had
rescinded the IDF’s right to fly over the country’s airspace. He said
the decision necessitated an in-depth discussion inside the Foreign
Ministry regarding whether this was the proper time for such a meeting.
only learned about a meeting in Brussels between Industry, Trade and
Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu from Channel 2 news on Wednesday night. Netanyahu tried to
reach Lieberman following the report, but the foreign minister has
refused to take his calls.
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Netanyahu’s spokesman Nir Hefetz told
Lieberman in a previously scheduled meeting on Thursday that leaving him
out of the loop had been a simple mistake and not a deliberate attempt
to keep him in the dark.
But Lieberman did not accept the
explanation, and sources close to him vowed revenge.
between Netanyahu and Lieberman have been harmed irrevocably,” a source
close to Lieberman said. “The scope of Lieberman’s humiliation will be
commensurate with the size of his revenge, even if it is not immediate,
obvious or direct. Lieberman does not easily forgive, and his revenge
will be cold and calculated, not impulsive.”
Sources close to
Lieberman said he had realized that whoever pressured Netanyahu hardest
and last tended to convince him, and that from now on, he intended to be
the one applying that final, persuasive pressure.
Beiteinu will remain in the coalition, but Lieberman’s associates said
it would no longer serve Netanyahu blindly.
“There are no
thoughts about resigning, because we don’t want to give that joy to
anyone,” Lieberman told Israel Radio. “It is a matter of what political
culture we want to have in Israel, do we have good governance, and
whether basic loyalty is respected. We must clarify all of this to the
fullest, because it cannot go on this way.”
Lieberman to vote for building moratorium bill, despite PM's opposition
The first act of
revenge is expected Sunday, when the Ministerial Committee on
Legislation will vote on Likud MK Carmel Shama’s bill that would require
Knesset approval for continuing the 10-month construction moratorium
beyond September. Israel Beiteinu ministers will vote for the bill
despite Netanyahu’s opposition.
Israel Beiteinu also intends to
stand up for its principles on issues like conversion and civil unions
for couples, rather than compromise and delay legislation as it has in
the past, and party officials will instigate confrontations with the
Labor Party on diplomatic issues that were previously avoided.
in Israel Beiteinu accused Defense Minister Ehud Barak of being behind
the leak to Channel 2. But Barak reportedly called Lieberman to deny any
connection to the story and to tell him that he had resisted calls by
the US to meet with the Turks.
Ben-Eliezer’s Wednesday meeting
with Davutoglu came as a
result of a
conversation between US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the G-20 in Toronto last month.
Meanwhile, the meeting that has strained Israel’s coalition did little
to improve Israeli-Turkish ties, Turkish officials were quoted as
The BBC’s Arabic service quoted senior officials in Ankara as saying
that there were no results from the meeting.
One of Erdogan’s advisers told the radio station that the objective of
the meeting was to halt the deterioration in the relationship, and that
Turkey was looking for clear answers to demands it had made of Israel
to improve ties: an apology for the raid on the Turkish-flagged ship on
May 31 that left nine people dead; paying compensation to the families
of the dead and wounded; and ending the blockade of Gaza.