Moussa: Israel changed tone, not policy

Arab League chief dismisses appointment of FM, saying previous gov't didn't stick to int'l agreements.

Amr Moussa 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Amr Moussa 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Arab League chief Amr Moussa was quoted on Thursday as saying that the appointment of Israel Beiteinu chair Avigdor Lieberman to the post of foreign minister had altered Israel's tone towards the Palestinians, rather than its policy. Reuters quoted Moussa as saying that the previous government did not abide by international agreements, and continued settlement construction in the West Bank. He also noted that Israel had not yet responded to the Saudi-proposed Arab Peace Initiative. Speaking to reporters in Cairo, he said, "In my opinion the previous government of Israel did not honor the understandings on which the Annapolis [peace] conference and process was based… What the new foreign minister in Israel is saying is putting that in a blunt, very aggressive way." On his first day on the job Wednesday, Lieberman had said, "There is one document that obligates us - and that's not the Annapolis conference, it has no validity." The foreign minister was referring to the Road Map, a phase-by-phase plan that is to lead eventually to final status negotiations and two states, but which first calls for the Palestinians to take steps such as dismantling the terrorist infrastructure and building governmental institutions, and calls on Israel to freeze all settlement construction. Lieberman also said that Israel would abide strictly by the Road Map, as well as by two accompanying documents - the Tenet and Zinni documents - that were drafted to get the two parties to the Road Map's starting gates. Moussa was further quoted as saying, "The new style of talking is just a new style. It does not initiate a new position. We know the Israeli position is negative when it comes to peace, when it comes to initiatives of peace." Herb Keinon contributed to this report