Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Lieberman: Peace an unattainable goal
Foreign minister pessimistic as to future of peace talks; doubts comprehensive agreement can be reached even in generation's time

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman does not share Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's optimism as to the chances of the Washington peace summit maturing into an agreement.


"You have to understand that signing a comprehensive peace agreement is an unattainable goal – not next year and not in the next generation," he said Sunday, in a Yisrael Beiteinu event celebrating Rosh Hashana.


"There is nothing we can do about it. No historical compromise and no painful concession (will do)."


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he added, "May be against terror, and I agree with that, but Abbas will not sign an agreement. The most he will do is threaten to resign... and therefore we must focus on the two major issues of security and economy."


Turning his attention to the possibility that the settlement freeze will continue, Lieberman said that he sees "no good reason to continue the settlement freeze. The Israeli government declared the freeze unilaterally, and all it got us was accusations from the Palestinians, who called it 'a scam.'


"They have been stalling for nine months, and in the last month, they have all of a sudden recognized the 'bargain' for what it is and are pressuring for the 'scam' to continue.


"We are willing to discuss anything, but there will be no more unilateral gestures. We will not agree to any settlement freeze – not for six months, not for three months, not for one minute."


Lieberman told his fellow party members that the only viable solution he sees is a long-term interim agreement: "I don't know of any magician who can bridge the gaps between us and the Palestinians within one year.


"We will insist on having no more unilateral concessions, the end of the settlement freeze and negotiations based on reciprocal gestures, not just Israeli ones. Seventeen years in enough time to reach some conclusions. The possible is possible, and the impossible – impossible."


Lieberman further said that the Palestinian were using the settlement freeze to carve out political gain: "We need to ask – are we dealing with a partner that can deliver. There are two important questions to ask: We have to understand exactly who (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas represents. On one hand, Gaza Strip is ruled by Hamas and as we have seen in the past week, the PA's rule over the Judea and Samaria is insufficient.


"What if tomorrow there are elections and Hamas takes over Judea and Samaria? They will say the negotiations are illegitimate. What will become of these agreements if they say Abbas does not represent them?"


Past negotiations, he determined, have only harmed Israel: "We have to ask ourselves why, despite past concessions and all the good will presented by Peres, Barak, Sharon, Olmert, Livni and Bibi, we could not reach an agreement?


"Everyone tired their best, but nothing happened. We have seen many grandiose productions, a booming international peace industry, but no results – just a lot of headlines, cocktails and meetings. We are not averse to a peace agreement, just adventures and illusions."


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First published: 05.09.10, 20:05
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