Peretz: Dialogue with Syria possible

Lieberman: "This kind of obliviousness brought the country to this conflict."

August 15, 2006 12:43
1 minute read.
amir peretz 298.88

amir peretz 298.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The conflict with Hizbullah may have created a new opportunity for renewed dialogue with the Palestinians, and potentially also with Syria, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Tuesday afternoon. Speaking at a bar mitzva party, Peretz said that he believes every war generates the possibility to further the greater diplomatic process, and that in this case that could mean conducting negotiations with Lebanon and creating the conditions for negotiations with Syria. In response to this statement, Israel Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman said that Peretz was suffering from a failure to acknowledge reality. "It is just this kind of obliviousness to reality that brought the country to the present conflict," Lieberman said. "After Assad announced that the Golan Heights would be liberated by Syrian soldiers and that Hizbullah won the conflict, Peretz's call for negotiations with Syria will be received as a weakness and an invitation for another attack," he said. "It is preferable that the defense minister focus on preparing the army for the next unavoidable conflict rather than unrealistic wishful thinking." Lieberman was referring to statements made earlier Tuesday by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Assad said in a speech that America's plan for a "new Middle East" had collapsed after Hizbullah's successes in fighting against Israel.

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