Lieberman: No to unilateral moves
Lieberman: No to unilateral movesIsrael News photo: (Flash 90)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and European Union representative Javier Solana on Monday. Lieberman expressed support for talks with the Palestinian Authority, but warned against unilateral attempts to establish a PA state in Judea and Samaria.

If the PA tries to make unilateral moves without reaching a diplomatic agreement with Israel, “Israel will respond,” the foreign minister said.

Lieberman also cautioned Blair and Solana regarding deadlines in Israel-PA negotiations. Setting target dates has led to disaster in the past, he said, as missed deadlines create disappointment and frustration, which lead to conflict.

Previous internationally backed peace initiatives, such as the 2002 Roadmap for Peace and the 2007 Annapolis conference, have attempted to solve the conflict between Israel and surrounding Arab nations within one or two years.

Lieberman's reference to unilateral decisions was seen as a response to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's recent release of a document outlining the structure of a PA state in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Fayyad's plan included the construction of an international airport, well-equipped PA armed forces, and the unification of Arab government entities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Peres: Hizbullah is Syria's Reserve Army

President Shimon Peres met with Solana as well. The two discussed Israel-PA talks as well as Solana's recent meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Solana told Peres he believes that Assad is interested in reopening talks with Israel. Assad has agreed to mediated talks with Israel in the past, with the goal of obtaining the strategic Golan region, home to tens of thousands of Israelis, in exchange for a peace treaty.

Peres said that if Assad wants to talk, “he must enter into direct negotiations with no preconditions.” The president expressed skepticism regarding Assad's intentions, pointing out Assad's support for terrorism. “Hizbullah is Syria's reserve army, which acts on its behalf as a terrorist organization. Assad must decide whether he wants peace or continued conflict,” he told Solana.

Israel should try to make peace with Syria, but at the same time, must protect its citizens, Peres concluded. “Israel is on the Golan Heights because we were attacked, and Israel has every right to ensure that we will not be attacked again,” he said.