A Jerusalem court verdict in two weeks on a breach of trust charge against Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman could cause a diplomatic explosion in the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority if he is acquitted.
If found guilty, Lieberman can kiss his political career goodbye.
Lieberman vacated his office as Foreign Minister late last year after he was indicted for allegedly using his position to help advance Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia as a reward for divulging to Lieberman details of an investigation against him. Ben Aryeh ultimately was not appointed to the post.
Lieberman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed before last winter’s elections that he would return as Foreign Minister if acquitted. In the meantime, the Prime Minister is acting Foreign Minister.
The return of Lieberman as Foreign Minister is the last thing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wants. Justice Livni Tzipi Livni is in charge of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and Kerry could not have asked for anyone better
Livni, a former Likud hawk, has staked her political future as the caddy for the Obama administration’s bags. He shouts, Jump!” and she asks, “Foot first or head first?”
If Lieberman gets off the hook, he and Livni will be biting and scratching at each other. Lieberman has repeatedly said the peace talks are a waste of time given Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to accept anything less than everything.