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Liberman Hints Israel, Kerry are on the Same Page

'Israel is willing to go far,' says Foreign Minister, and 'the gap between our positions and those of the US is 'bridgeable.'
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/15/2014, 9:28 AM

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

While Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's disparaging comments about US Secretary of State John Kerry have caused a diplomatic ruckus, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman thinks Israel and the US are close to agreement in the “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that Kerry has been brokering.

Writing in Maariv/NRG, senior analyst Ben-Dror Yemini reported Wednesday that the Palestinian side to the negotiations thinks that Israel and the United States are more or less on the same page as regards the “peace talks.” He concludes that Yaalon's comments do not reflect that of the top Israeli leadership, but rather indicate that Yaalon is alarmed by the fact that the talks may succeed and Israel may agree to irresponsibly cede important assets.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has not given his express assent to Kerry's offers, writes Yemini, but “on the spectrum of responses, Netanyahu is closer to a positive answer, and the Palestinians are closer to a negative answer.”

Liberman confirmed in a phone call from Geneva Tuesday that “Israel is willing to go far, but the key is security arrangements.”

He added: “What is clear is that every place that we left, the Iranians entered. And therfore, security arrangements are the main thing.”

"As things currently appear, it will be possible to bridge between the American positions and ours,” Liberman stated.

Another senior diplomatic source quoted by Yemini confirmed that the side currently doing most of the refusing in the talks is the Palestinian one. Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, insists that East Jerusalem be recognized as the capital of Palestine, and refuses to let go of his extremist demands regarding the “right of return” of Arab refugees, said the source. Abbas is also trying to shore up support for his rejectionist position from Arab countries, he added.