Lieberman 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Following a speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman at
the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu's office distanced itself almost immediately from the remarks by informing the media that his speech had not been
coordinated with Netanyahu.
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The various subjects related to a peace
agreement will be discussed and determined only around the negotiating table
and not anywhere else, said the prime minister's office.
source, however, explained that in a parliamentary system ministers and MKs are
at liberty to express their opinions in international forums. Such expression is
not unusual and is understood by the international community, the source said.
The sourced added that Lieberman's position has come up from time to time.
There are those
who believe that it could be of assistance in finding a solution to the
conflict, said the source. But there has been no formal governmental
decision on this matter, the source added.
During his speech in New York Lieberman recommended a “two-staged” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that “could take a few decades,” and said a final status agreement would entail “not land-for-peace, but rather, exchange of populated territory.”
Lieberman said a “long-term intermediate
agreement” prior to final status agreements would most likely be
necessary as a first component of a “two-staged” solution.
An intermediate agreement, Lieberman said, would be motivated from the “need to raise an entire new generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by incitement and extremist messages.” Lieberman added that creating such an emotionally conducive climate “could take a few decades.”
Lieberman stressed that he was not advocating population transfer as part of a final status agreement, but rather, stating that “moving borders to better reflect demographic realities” would be part of an effort to recognize and address the deep-seated friction between the two nations.
Citing examples in East Timor, as well as the former Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, Lieberman said “where effective separation has been achieved, conflict has either been avoided or has been dramatically reduced or resolved.”
Lieberman said that “precisely this notion – that a mismatch between borders and nationalities is a recipe for conflict – has long been accepted as a virtual truism in the academic community,” referencing the term “right-sizing the state.”
“States and nations must be in balance in order to ensure peace,” Lieberman said. “This is not a controversial political policy. It is an empirical truth.”
“Israel is not only where we are,” Lieberman said. “It is who we are.”
In his remarks, Lieberman expressed the desire to dispel flawed explanations for why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to exist, despite seventeen years having passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Lieberman noted that “more than ninety percent”
of wars and war victims in the Middle East since World War II have not
stemmed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather “from
conflicts involving Muslims or conflicts between Arab states.”
those who believe the conflict’s intransigence stems from “the
so-called ‘occupation,’ the settlements in Judea and Samaria and the
settlers themselves,” Lieberman noted that “all Judea, Samaria and Gaza
were under Arab control for 19 years, between 1948 and 1967.”
these 19 years, no one tried to create a Palestinian state,” Lieberman
Noting that peace with Egypt and Jordan was created despite
the existence of settlements, Lieberman added that 21 “flourishing”
settlements were evacuated in Gush Katif, and more than 10,000 Jews
“And in return, we have Hamas in power and
thousands of missiles on Sderot and southern Israel,” Lieberman said.
said he also sought to disabuse those who claim that the Palestinian
issue “prevents a determined international front against Iran.”
argument is not only flawed, it is completely irresponsible,” Lieberman
said. “The same argument could be made that the Palestinian issue
prevents action on North Korea, piracy in Somalia, the humanitarian
crisis in Sudan or the challenge of Afghanistan .”
between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lieberman said, is
“Iran can exist without Hamas, Islamic
Jihad and Hizbullah, but the terrorist organizations cannot exist
without Iran,” Lieberman said, adding that Iran is currently capable of
foiling any peace agreement by means of terrorist proxies.
Lieberman said, “in searching for a durable agreement with the
Palestinians, one which will deal with the true roots of the conflict,
and which will endure for many years, one must understand that first,
the Iranian issue must be resolved.”
said, the emotional component of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must
be addressed as well as the practical one.
problems,” Lieberman said, are “the utter lack of confidence between the
sides and issues such as Jerusalem, recognition of Israel as the
nation-state of the Jewish people, and refugees.”
Due to these
problems, Lieberman said, focus should be on coming up with a “long-term
Lieberman’s address was greeted with
applause in the General Assembly. Among those in attendance was Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
“I think this was one of the best
speeches I’ve heard,” Ayalon said of Lieberman’s address. “I think it
was a speech with great vision, wisdom and courage.”
people are afraid of the truth, but Mr. Lieberman was showing to the
world a mirror through which realities in the world, and especially the
Middle East, could be seen clearly,” Ayalon said.