Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu sign coalition deal
Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu sign coalition dealYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke this morning on “Radio Kol Hai” about the meeting between PM Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.

“It takes years to build relations between countries, step by step, and in the first meeting the critical thing is to build positive personal relations, to create credible and discrete dialogue. The Prime Minister, in my opinion, successfully achieved this. This goal was attained. With respect to the rest, we don’t know exactly what happened.”

“Yes building freeze, no building freeze - in practice we are building,” Liberman said. “With the change of administrations, we approved 5,500 housing units in Judea and Samaria. On sensitive matters it’s better to speak less and do more.”

Liberman called to wait until the PM returns from his visit and updates the cabinet ministers on what was agreed upon in the discussions. “I assume that we won’t want to argue with the Trump administration. Let’s imagine we say ‘we’re doing what we [want]-’ they’ll say in the world, ‘It’s understandable that you argued with Obama, but now? The Republicans are in control in the White House, in the Senate and Congress, you also managed to argue with Trump?’ They’ll say that we’re just looking for arguments.”

Regarding the various declarations of government ministers and the words of Education Minister Naftali Bennett that “the earth would tremble” if Netanyahu brought up the “two-state solution” with Trump, Liberman said, “All bark and no bite. Nobody in the present coalition, and especially the Jewish Home party, has the option to leave the coalition[...] They have no option of hurting a right-wing government.”

“The question is what was said, face to face, between Trump and Netanyahu.”

He added that he thought that “the body language and smiles of Trump and Bibi is important. This shows that there was chemistry and trust. Trump rightfully says that he’s not intending to force us, and that’s a dramatic change. He says that any solution arrived at by direct negotiations is fine by him, and that’s very significant. It represents a 180-degree turn from what we saw before.”

Asked whether he strives to be Prime Minister in the future, he said: “My goal is to be an excellent Defense Minister.”