Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Thursday with United States envoy George Mitchell for the first time since taking office. Lieberman warned Mitchell that the current approach to Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations has failed to yield solutions, and that a new approach will be necessary.
Previous Israeli leaders have been willing to make major concessions to the PA, but have received nothing in return, he said. The concessions Israel has made unilaterally, such as giving up Gaza, have not improved Israel's security, he added, but instead have led to conflicts such as the Cast Lead counterterrorism operation there.
In order to support peace, the international community must respect Israel's need for security and to maintain its Jewish nature, Lieberman said.
Mitchell told Lieberman that the U.S. supports a “two-state solution” that would create a PA-led Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Mitchell made similar statements in a meeting with President Shimon Peres.
Mitchell praised his meeting with Lieberman as “candid,” and said the two discussed the history of Israel-PA negotiations as well as options for the future.