Lieberman comments do not represent gov't, says Barak
FM Lieberman defends his "ultimate agreement would require population and territorial exchanges" comments made at UN as strong criticism comes in.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 28, 2010 20:51
3 minute read.
Liberman speech looking wierd.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday night that Foreign Minister Avigdor
Lieberman's comments do not reflect the Israeli government's stance and
certainly not the Labor party's attitude.
Reacting to Lieberman's
UN General Assembly speech, Barak confirmed that the Labor party
believes in a continuation of talks and finding a breakthrough. It's essential to make peace with the Palestinians and not to play into the hands of Israel's enemies, Barak said.
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Labor Minister for Minority Affairs Avishay Braverman called on
Netanyahu to fire the foreign minister.
"Lieberman undermined the prime
minister and Netanyahu should fire him for it. Lieberman's delusional
speech was well-planned and was intended to heat up the atmosphere and
harm the peace process. This adds to a long list of incidents in which
Lieberman tried to undermine the prime minister."
Earlier on Tuesday evening, Lieberman spoke to Channel 2 news and said that the Palestinians are not interested
in peace, and the time has come for Israel to stop blaming itself for
failing to achieve peace.
The foreign minister also defended comments he made on Tuesday afternoon
at the UN General Assembly.
In his speech before the General Assembly,
Lieberman told international leaders that he believed that Israel must
arrive at an interim agreement with the Palestinians, that peace would
only be possible after a number of decades, and that an ultimate
agreement would require population and territorial exchanges.
foreign minister said during the Channel 2 interview that at the UN he
talked about the facts and expressed the opinions of "the majority of
the Israeli public" on the issue of peace negotiations.
He said that everyone wants peace and "maybe the time has come to change the direction of negotiations."
"Peace needs to come naturally, its like a premature birth - if it comes to early then it can be dangerous," Lieberman said.
Minister Netanyahu's office distanced itself almost immediately from
the remarks by informing the media that his speech had not been
coordinated with Netanyahu.
Despite Netanyahu’s speedy
disassociation from the controversial statements made by Lieberman,
Kadima jumped to the bit, accusing the prime minister of failing to
maintain a united coalition on issues of foreign policy.
“A” Prime Minister Netanyahu talks about a final agreement and two
states, Prime Minister “B” Lieberman speaks about an interim agreement
and population exchange, while Prime Minister “C” Yishai does not
believe in an agreement,” mocked MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima). “The Netanyahu
government speaks with a number of voices and it seems as though Prime
Minister Netanyahu represents only his own perspective. This shows
Netanyahu’s weakness, as he is unable to advance his stance among his
ministers and his coalition partners. This is a government without a
head, without a leader, and without a direction.”
MK Nahman Shai
(Kadima) echoed Hasson’s statements, saying that “the Prime Minister
needs to decide if he is running a country or conducting a choir. The
foreign minister’s statements are in complete opposition to the declared
policies of the government, both regarding the connection between the
Iranian problem and the peace process, as well as in his reference to
the process as a gesture to the world community rather than as a vital
MK Majalee Whbee (Kadima) took his criticism a step further, blasting
not simply Lieberman’s comments, but also describing Netanyahu’s
response as “flaccid”, saying that it was an “additional proof that
Netanyahu prefers coalitional peace over regional peace.”
Kadima was not the only party in the coalition to take the opportunity
to attack Lieberman’s statements. “It is known that he who places the
mission of peace on the next generation strives for war and not for
peace,” complained Meretz Faction Chairman MK Ilan Gilon.
that Israel must reach a holistic solution with the Palestinians, but
that Lieberman is trying to do harm to any future agreement, leaving
Israel as a policy of eternal warfare. “It is clear that the
fundamentalist forces are the enemy of democracy, and they must be
addressed through a strategic alliance with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi
Arabia, alongside an agreement with the Palestinians while strengthening
the Palestinian Authority against its enemies at home.”
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