Liberman: Phony Likud 'Rightists' Can't Lecture Me

Avigdor Liberman slams Likud members who called him soft on the peace process; 'The Likud led the disengagement.'

Yaakov Levi ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Speaking at an event Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed Likud members who have called him “soft” on the peace process.

“I heard that Likud officials have been criticizing me for 'leaning to the left,'” Liberman said at a conference sponsored by business daily Calcalist. “I want to tell them something: It was the Likud that led the way to the disengagement, and only one minister in the party actively voted against it.”

That minister, Uzi Landau, is now a member of Liberman's own Yisrael Beytenu party – and that is fact that holds a political lesson for Israelis, he said. “Five ministers who were in the government then, and are in the government now, voted in favor of the disengagement. No 'right winger' from Ra'anana or Tel Aviv will lecture me, a true rightist from Nokdim – an 'isolated settlement' in Gush Etzion – what being on the Right means. At the moment of truth, we all know where the Likud will be – has already been – and where Yisrael Beytenu will be.”

Liberman has in the past espoused a “separation” arrangement, in which Israel would relinquish most of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, while retaining the major settlement blocs, at the very least. In exchange, Israel would surrender territory within the pre-1948 armistice lines, such as the so-called "Triangle" area, north of Kfar Sava, and the Wadi Ara area. Under Liberman's plan, Arab cities such as Tira and Umm el-Faham would be transferred to PA control, with the security fence rebuilt from the east side of these cities to the west side. Although Arabs have decried Liberman as proposing a “transfer,” his plan does not require anyone to move anywhere.

Liberman said that he had no problem working with anyone – Likud or Labor.

But despite polling relatively weekly - between 7-9 seats - he says he expects to be chosen to lead the next government. “I will offer a place in the government to both parties,”he said, assembling a large government so “we will not have to hold elections in another two years” as the current government was forced to do.

“The choices in the election are between a 'utopian' but unworkable Left, a pragmatic national camp led by me, or a radical right that ignores reality,” Liberman added.