Yes to Road Map, No to Annapolis

Newly sworn-in Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman makes waves by announcing that Israel is not obligated by agreements reached at Annapolis.

Maayana Miskin ,

Lieberman (right) with PM Netanyahu
Lieberman (right) with PM Netanyahu
Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

Newly sworn-in Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman made waves Wednesday during his first speech as Foreign Minister when he announced that Israel is not obligated by agreements reached at the Annapolis Conference. Israel is only obligated to abide by the Road Map, he said.

"There is just one document we are obliged to abide by – the Road Map confirmed by the United Nations Security Council,” Lieberman said.

The government never endorsed the Annapolis process, Lieberman pointed out, making its legal status different from that of the Road Map.

The Road Map calls on the Palestinian Authority to end terrorism and incitement and requires Israel to end all construction in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. It links the creation of a PA state to the PA's willingness to fight terrorism.

Lieberman attacked the policies espoused by former Prime Ministers Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon. “They took dramatic steps, made far-reaching offers -- we saw the Disengagement and Annapolis – but from what I saw there was no peace as a result, the opposite in fact,” he said.

Lieberman also expressed doubt over the efficacy of the Oslo process. “Since Oslo, from what I can tell there has been no progress towards a permanent agreement,” he said.

"The State of Israel was strong and popular after the Six Day War, not after Oslo,” he added.

While critical of Israel's policies in respect to the PA, Lieberman praised Israel's ties with Egypt. Egypt is a valuable strategic partner, he said.

Lieberman's speech drew fire from former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who interrupted him to say that the Annapolis process was approved by the UN Security Council. “The government never approved Annapolis,” Lieberman shot back.

Livni remained critical, and said after the speech, “What you said convinced me that I did the right thing by refusing to join the government.”

Abbas Seeks International Pressure
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused Lieberman of failing to seek peace, and called on the international community to pressure Israel. "We want to tell the world that this man does not believe in peace and therefore we cannot deal with him," Abbas said of Lieberman via PA media outlets.