Liberman Insists 'the Israeli Government Has No Strategy'
Foreign Minister Avgidor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) urged a peace agreement with the Palestinian Arab "unity government" Monday, as a means of attempting to make real peace with its Arab neighbors.
"Jewish Home [Bayit Yehudi] says that between the Mediterranean and the Jordan there is no other country except Israel - and no Palestinian state - and Tzipi Livni wants two states at any price," Liberman stated. "Every minister in the government has a strategy, but the Israeli government has no strategy."
And Liberman's strategy? "We need to reach an agreement for a Jewish and a Palestinian state," he said. "Keeping Jews in a Palestinian state would not be responsible."
"We should act and not talk," he continued. "I am in favor of a [peace] agreement but I will not do so at any price."
"A peace agreement with the Palestinians is important for Europe, but not for the Arab [world]," he continued. "They don't care at all about the Palestinians."
Therefore, he said, "a peace agreement with the Palestinians may only be with the moderate Arab countries in this region, and only to bring full diplomatic relations [between] Israel and its moderate neighbors."
"The Arab world wants a peace agreement with the Palestinians first and then an agreement for the Middle East, but the order needs to be reversed," he added. "We have shared interests with the moderate Arab world - to deal with a [nuclear] Iran, with the Syrian Civil War, and with the Muslim Brotherhood."
Liberman also said that there is a need to establish trade relations with these moderate Arab states in the Middle East.
"If we could take a plane from Tel Aviv to Riyadh or Doha to do business with them, this will be a completely different reality," he said. "The Arab world needs to overcome the psychological barrier and internalize in it their own interests to maintain open relations with Israel."
Liberman has refused to make concessions before, and was particularly vocal early in the breakdown in peace talks about refusing to release more terrorists to continue negotiations.
"I am all for negotiations, but I am against being a sucker," he stated, in an interview with IDF Radio. "It cannot be that the Palestinians unilaterally break all the rules, submit a request to join the fifteen international organizations, and then we treat it as another day [in the Middle East]."
While he has previously supported continuing talks, the Foreign Minister has also said that Israel's future does not depend on them - not enough to torpedo the government by releasing more terrorists.
"Our political horizon is the moderate Arab world," he claimed. "For the first time, there is recognition in those countries that their real enemy is this not the Jews and the Zionists. They understand that their enemy is Jihadi extremist movements, which are backed by Iran."
"Today, even in the Gulf and Egypt and Saudi Arabia have the chance of recognizing and cooperating with us," he continued. "They have money and space - we have the knowledge and technology. [Together], we can build a completely different reality."
"We must make an effort to quietly cooperate with the Arab world, who realized that Islamist extremism is its first and biggest danger. And if the Palestinians want to join in, we [still] will as well."