Lieberman calm down 248.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Just a few days before the arrival of United States Middle East Envoy George Mitchell to the region, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that Israeli gestures towards the Palestinians to get them back to the negotiating table were over.
In a press conference held with visiting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Lieberman said "We finished our arsenal of gestures and there will be no other gestures. There is no place to talk about reopening the Orient House or stopping building in Jerusalem. Now it is the time for Palestinian gestures."
Lieberman added that Israel had taken a number of steps toward the Palestinians since the current government came to power, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at Bar Ilan University, the removal of roadblocks, permission to convene the Fatah conference in Bethlehem and the 10-month moratorium on housing construction in West Bank settlements, but added that the Palestinian Authority had not responded in kind.
Støre, in his opening comments said he had two "good hours of talks" with Lieberman in which they exchanged views about the situation in the region and about the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process.
He said the talks were "open and frank," which is widely used as diplomatic shorthand for agreeing to disagree.
During the press conference, Lieberman reacted directly for the first time to the diplomatic incident between Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the Turkish ambassador, saying "the content was right but the way with which it was dealt was a mistake. You do not kill the messenger, and those sensitive to their own national respect and honor need to be sensitive to others as well."