web analytics
April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Avigdor Liberman’

Israel-PA Negotiators Back to Work in Jerusalem

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

U.S. mediators are in Jerusalem “helping” Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators get back to the table and back to work. Again.

Chief negotiators Tzipi Livni for Israel and Saeb Erekat for the PA are scheduled to meet today with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk and others. Indyk, Livni and Erekat have already met three times this week. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is in the United States, and met last night in Washington D.C. with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We note that the contact in meetings between the negotiators is continuing and note that they are engaging in serious and intensive efforts to find a way out of the current impasse,” said U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at a briefing Wednesday night. She was careful not to confirm that a meeting between the two sides would actually take place Thursday in Jerusalem. One cannot ever predict what will happen in Jerusalem and the Obama administration is now sadder and wiser.

Kerry kept his words upbeat while speaking to media ahead of his meeting with Liberman. “We are working hard to find a way forward. And both parties indicate they would like to find a way to go forward in the talks.”

Since the talks have yet to make any real progress at all, let alone move the “peace process” even one concrete inch on core issues, one questions exactly where “forward” each party means to go when they make that statement to the United States. It seems that Israel has made all the concessions – like freeing dozens of bloodthirsty terrorists in repeated “good will gestures” – and no visible reciprocal moves have been made by the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu finally ordered all government ministries except those related to defense, and all negotiators except Tzipi Livni, to cease civilian and economic contacts with the PA. The move came Wednesday in response to the PA’s brazen violation of its commitment not to sign membership for international agencies, treaties and organizations until the end of talks with Israel, slated for April 29.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed on to 15 global treaties, as head of the ‘State of Palestine,’ four days after Israel failed to release a group of 30 terrorist prisoners, among them 20 Israeli Arab citizens over which Abbas actually has no jurisdiction whatsoever.

That group was the last of four whose releases were supposed to be linked to progress in the talks and the active participation of Abbas at the negotiating table. But Abbas had not been present since last November, and no progress had been made.

Israeli ministers balked at releasing the final group of prisoners in the face of no progress, a month ahead of a deadline for talks that had accomplished nothing. Instead, Israel advanced a proposal to extend the talks until the end of 2014 and release 400 more prisoners in addition to the group of 30 scheduled to be freed – but the PA rebuffed the offer and instead walked away.

When talking to media in Washington, Liberman was blunt but polite about his view of what crashed the negotiations, choosing his words carefully.

“Unilateral steps,” he said, would only “undermine all our efforts.” A final status deal that would bring peace means a lot to Israel. The Jewish State is “ready to sacrifice a lot for this goal.”

Will Kerry Be On Hot Seat at Obama Meeting?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Oy. He’s logged thousands of hours flying back and forth, meeting with leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and surrounding Arab nations. Sleepless nights, endless days, Middle Eastern food and where has it all led?

Back to Square One by anyone’s estimation – and very likely in the eyes of President Barack Obama at the White House.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reports today (Tuesday) to the president so both can decide what to do next about the persnickety tangle that just won’t untangle in the Holy Land.

The problem is, after the better part of a year, John Kerry may have almost nothing to show for all of his efforts and a massive bill to boot. It’s a credibility problem for him – did he read the situation wrong? Or was it simply a matter of the Western mind not understanding the typical Middle Eastern Arab mentality again? And again. And again. Ad nauseum.

Because we who live here have already seen this before in our neighborhood. There have been so many train wrecks down this gorge, we’ve lost count of the number of peace plans we’ve complied with here in the Land of Israel. Most were American.

And Mr. Kerry is another one lacking the basic understanding of Middle Eastern mentality, the Arab mind and how it works, and the way it goes in this region. Briefings on “Arab culture” don’t cut it when it comes to shuttle diplomacy here. It is just not enough when it gets to the nitty gritty.

The Europeans already know better. They make dry observations, back the Arabs (who they know they can rely on to pull out rather than comply) and then fade out before the sun sets in the West. Of course, ‘intel’ ties always continue with Israel; it would be silly to ignore the needs of national security, right?

But the U.S. has yet to learn that Arab leadership is not reliable. The Palestinian Authority talks one way in English and the other way in Arabic and its word is never its word. Peace is not a concept this entity can understand. The definition of ‘honor’ in this culture is not the same as that of the West – it is defined differently in the Middle East.

Think ASIA when you think of PA government “honor.” That is the closest analogy one can summon. It does not involve life, but death – truly. And age doesn’t count. Babies do qualify. Everyone is expendable.

John Kerry is a well-meaning guy. He really thought he could pull this off. And he did have a peace partner. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu braved his entire coalition to make this last attempt – and almost lost his government over it. In fact, he still might. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Labor leader Isaac Herzog are both taking a shot at widening the fractures so they can climb all over it when new elections come around – and they both hope it’s sooner rather than later.

The last thing Israel needed was to free dozens more terrorists, let alone open the roadblocks to create a new free entrance on to Highway 60 from the Arab side of Hevron. But that’s what Israel did at America’s insistence for the U.S. attempt at new talks with the PA, knowing it was likely to come to naught.

It would be a pity if President Obama were now to rake John Kerry over the coals for following his orders and extending his own personal good faith in the process.

Mr. Kerry is not a young man either, and the constant flights could not have been easy. The stress of struggling to deal with Arab leaders fighting your every effort to reach a compromise could not have been fun. And having to second-guess everyone’s thoughts, words, actions and decisions following each session – although that is the job for which he was trained – must have been the stuff of nightmares.

Israel Sets Its Own Precondition for Talks With PA

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Israel has for the first time set its own precondition for any return to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beyteynu party, announced the Jewish State will not negotiate again with the PA unless it withdraws all 15 of its applications to international treaties, conventions and memberships in United Nations (UN) agencies and organizations.

“We will not agree to unilateral actions by the Palestinians without exacting a price from them for that behavior,” Liberman stated in an interview Tuesday morning on Voice of Israel government radio.

While Israel favors negotiations, he said, he does not intend for Israel to be “a sucker.” The PA has incessantly set preconditions as a means of dragging security and other concessions out of Israel prior to entering any form of negotiations. As usual, the current round of talks saw Israel forced by the United States – whose arm was twisted by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – to free dozens of terrorist prisoners in a new round of “good will gestures.”

Four groups of prisoners were to be freed in the deal intended to bring Abbas to the negotiating table and to keep him there, totaling 104 terrorists, including 20 Israeli Arab citizens who were not even technically under PA jurisdiction. To date 78 terrorists have already been freed.

However, this time Israel set a condition of its own: the prisoner release was to be linked to the progress made in the talks, and to the participation of Abbas at the table. But Abbas rarely showed, and had not been seen since November 2013. The talks had accomplished little of significance from the start. Nor did Abbas keep his word, following a pattern he showed during the last such round of negotiations in 2009-2010.

Meanwhile, the final prisoner group would have included the Israeli Arab terrorists, causing a fierce debate among politicians and citizens. Releasing them before the end of the talks, scheduled for April 29,  would have left no reason for PA negotiators to come back the next day.

Israeli ministers and citizens balked and the tranche was blocked. Instead, Israel suggested extending the talks till the end of 2014 and offered to free the final group, as well as an additional 400 prisoners if the PA agreed. In response, an infuriated PA decided to go with a flurry of international applications instead, and also threatened to go to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

Liberman directly blamed Abbas for sabotaging the talks, saying the PA chairman submitted the applications just as both sides were about to complete a deal for a prisoner release. The foreign minister added there is no way that Israel is willing to narrow down talks to the sole issue of borders, at the behest of the PA. The Jewish State is willing to negotiate all outstanding issues, but demands from the PA to exclude all core issues but one are not acceptable.

Coalition Crisis Looming Over Israel-PA Talks?

Monday, April 7th, 2014

There are no last-minute breakthroughs to report by either side in the Israel-Palestinian Authority negotiations, and PA representatives report no progress while Israeli ministers are squabbling.

PA sources told reporters Sunday night, “The crisis continues. During the entire meeting the Israelis threatened the Palestinians and no solution to the crisis was found.”

But as the “framework agreement” talks continue to fall apart, Israel’s government coalition is now facing a crisis of its own.

In a Knesset plenum session on Monday, Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) called on the Hatnua party led by chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni and the Yesh Atid party headed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid to leave the government. “The failure echoes in all areas,” Herzog charged. “This is a government of failure that does not provide peace, only depression.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beyteynu party, seems to be heaping his own fuel to the fire. Liberman opened the door to new elections yesterday (Sunday April 6) with incendiary comments at The Jerusalem Post’s Annual Conference in New York, saying he would rather face new elections than extend the talks with the PA in another “grand deal.”

Liberman opposes the proposal advanced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that would have extended the current talks until the end of 2014. The proposal would have freed the last tranche of 30 terrorists – including 20 Israeli Arab citizens – as well as an additional 400 more PA prisoners chosen by Israel as well.

The proposal and the unilateral membership applications by the PA to 15 international United Nations agencies and organizations, have torn apart Netanyahu’s coalition.

Despite intense efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Special Envoy to the Middle East Martin Indyk, absolutely no progress has been made in months. Both men appear to realize that there is not much more to be done, and now appear to be backing away from the process at this point.

Liberman Vetoes Haredim Participation in the Coalition

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman reportedly vetoed the idea of bringing Haredim into the coalition government, according to senior Likud sources, as reported by Makor Rishon.

Now that the fight over the Haredi draft law is over, advisers to PM Netanyahu believe that it is time to bring the Haredim into the coalition, and if that upsets Yair Lapid to the point where he pulls his Yesh Atid party out – so be it.

But resistance came from an unexpected source.

According to Likud sources, Liberman said, “I won’t remain in the coalition, if that were the case,” referring to Haredim joining the government.

Liberman has been a staunch supporter of drafting Haredim.

In another example of the tensions between Liberman and the Haredi community, Liberman and Aryeh Deri (Shas), who were friends in the past, are apparently not friends anymore.

This past week Aryeh Deri said that he could see Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) replacing Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

Netanyahu’s people have begun an anti-Deri campaign as a result of that remark, reminding Shas supporters how Deri dragged their party to the far Left, a position which doesn’t represent the view of the majorty of Shas voters.

The outspoken Haredi MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ), who has called for the destruction of non-Haredi Hesder yeshivas, had angry words to say about PM Netanyahu, the Knesset, the government, Naftali Bennett, Avigdor Liberman, adding that he will “never forgive” Netanyahu or those that were involved in the Haredi draft bill, not even on Yom Kippur, according to a Makor Rishon report.

The funny thing about politics is that one should never say never.

Liberman: Peace Agreement Is Distant, But Talks Are Necessary

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Peace between Israelis and the Palestinians is unlikely, but talks must continue if only to manage the conflict, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said.

“Trust between the two sides is about zero,” Liberman said Friday evening at the annual Saban Forum, a gathering in Washington of Israeli and U.S. persons of influence.

Liberman said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would not achieve an agreement within a year, as Kerry has anticipated, and cautioned against creating “expectations.” Liberman excoriated Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as undemocratic and unrepresentative.

However, Liberman also said he was grateful to Kerry for restarting talks with the Palestinians, saying that dialogue was crucial to preventing violence.

“It’s crucial to keep this dialogue,” he said during his interview-style appearance. “It’s important to manage this conflict.”

Liberman said differences between the Obama and Netanyahu governments on Iran policy were clear, but – in an implied rebuke of Netanyahu, who has sharply criticized U.S. policy – he said such disputes should be handled privately.

“I don’t like all the public discussion about the Iranian issue,” he said. “It’s impossible to discuss on TV screens.”

Netanyahu has said that an interim sanctions relief for nuclear rollback deal negotiated last month between Iran and the major powers is a bad one and will allow Iran to advance toward a nuclear weapon.

Acquittal of Lieberman and More Sanctions for Iran

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai broadcasts from the General Assembly of the United Jewish Federations and is joined by Knesset insider Jeremy Man Saltan. Together, they discuss the acquittal of Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman of criminal charges after seventeen years and how it will affect his reputation around Israel. They move on to analyze how sanctions on Iran should change. The segment ends with a focus on tension being sparked by intra-Jewish friction and its affect on the Kotel (Western Wall)

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Avigdor Liberman, Tough Foreign Minister, is Back

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

He’s been called the most investigated politician in Israel – and that’s saying something! But after enduring years of others sifting through the bowels of his political history, Avigdor Lieberman was unanimously acquitted of corruption charges last Wednesday. On Monday, Nov. 11, Liberman was reinstated as Israel’s Foreign Minister.

Liberman had been charged with suspicion of fraud and breach of trust.

The vote in the knesset to reinstate Liberman took place Monday afternoon.  The vote was 62 to 17. Members voting against the Yisrael Beiteinu chair included members of the leftist Labor and Meretz parties, as well as Arabs from the Balad party.

Balad leader Jamal Zahalke said bringing back Liberman meant bringing back “the bad spirit of racism, fascism and mafia to the Knesset.”

Zahalke frequently speaks out against what he calls Israel’s system of “Apartheid.” The Israeli Arab received three degrees from Israel’s Hebrew University, serves in the Israeli Knesset and is the leader of a political party in Israel.  Some Apartheid.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had left the Foreign Ministry’s top position open since Lieberman stepped down in December, 2012, after Liberman was indicted on graft charges. Liberman served as Israel’s Foreign Minister since April, 2009.

Frequently referred to by many in the mainstream media as a “hard-liner,” a “hawk,” or other pejorative terms, Liberman is likely to confirm that view if he, as is expected, refuses to agree to still further concessions and appeasement efforts towards the Palestinian Arabs.

Liberman’s propensity for straight talk about the Palestinian Arab leadership is certain to raise hackles with the U.S. administration which has been trying desperately to browbeat Israel into overlooking the terrorist creed of its so-called “peace partner.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/avigdor-liberman-tough-foreign-minister-is-back/2013/11/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: