Lieberman explains: Abbas on shaky ground
Foreign minister continues to second-guess talks, says most Israel can hope to achieve in direct talks is long-term interim arrangement. ‘For Palestinians talks are show to blame Israel for failure; why give them chance?’ he asks
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman continued to second-guess direct peace talks Monday morning after the Palestinian Authority blasted his recent comments as an impediment to peace.
“Aside from the enthusiastic party there must be someone who cools down and lowers expectations,” he told Israel Radio’s morning program.
“We are going to sign (a deal) with someone on shaky ground,” he added, referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The US forced him into this meeting in Washington. Who does Abbas represent? Hamas is in power in Gaza, and the elections in the Palestinian Authority have been postponed two or three times. Any government that comes to power in the next elections can renounce Abbas and say he doesn’t represent anyone.”
Lieberman added that the Palestinians were attempting to harm the peace process. “The other side is always looking for excuses why not to hold serious negotiations. For them it is all a show to blame Israel for the failure of talks, so why give them the opportunity to blame us?”
He claimed a responsible state must define realistic goals. “I am afraid of creating a situation with a lot of expectations that cannot be reached, after which the blame will fall on us. That can’t happen. We must speak in realistic terms,” he said.
“The disappointment that comes afterwards could ruin what we have accomplished up until now.”
The foreign minister added that the most that can be hoped for is a long-term interim arrangement. “The alternative is to expand our achievements in the areas of economics and security,” he said.
Despite this, Lieberman stressed that he was in favor of giving the direct talks a chance. “I’m not against the government. I’ve said I’m willing to give the prime minister a chance,” he said.
“We would be glad for and hope that regional peace will be declared in the Middle East, but I am attempting to stay close to reality, and that means that what we need now is a long-term interim arrangement.”