Liberman: Israel needs allies besides the United States

Foreign minister stresses peace with Palestinians will come only after economy strengthens.

Avigdor Liberman 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Avigdor Liberman 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Israel should not rely on the US as much as it traditionally has, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said at the Sderot Conference Wednesday.
“The 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.”
Liberman’s comments 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.
Liberman continued 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.
MK Nachman Shai (Labor) said Liberman is “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
“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 shield.”
According to Shai, every declaration like that of Liberman’s harms relations with Washington.