Be strong - Lieberman
Photo: Eli Mandelbaum

Lieberman: Concessions won't bring peace

New Foreign Minister Lieberman delivers aggressive speech Wednesday, hinting of policy to be adopted by ministry; Israel made more concessions than any other country, constantly uttering word 'peace' won't bring peace, he says

New minister, new attitude: Concessions are not the way to make peace, incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday during the changing of the guard ceremony at the Foreign Ministry.


"Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong," the new minister said. "It's the other way around; it will lead to more wars."


Following Lieberman's speech, outgoing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni whispered in his ear: "I became convinced that I was wise not to join the government."


Lieberman, who will also serve as deputy prime minister, delivered an aggressive speech, noting that "by uttering the word peace 20 times a day we won't make peace."


"Those who want peace should prepare for war and be strong," he added. "There is no country that made concessions like Israel. Since 1967 we gave up territory that is three times the size of Israel. We showed willingness. The Oslo process started back in 1993 and to this day I have not seen that we reached peace."


Moderate tone on Egypt  

Lieberman added that Israel is not obligated by the Annapolis conference, but rather, only by the Road Map initiative. However, responding to the new minister's remarks, a senior US official said the Obama administration remains committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Meanwhile, turning his attention to Egypt – a target for harsh criticism on his part in the past – Lieberman adopted a more moderate tone.


"Egypt is an important element in the Arab world and in the world in general," he said. "I will certainly be happy to visit Egypt, but I'll also be happy to see Egypt's leaders visit here, including the Egyptian foreign minister. I respect others and I want them to respect us; I'm in favor of the principle of reciprocity."


The new foreign minister also adopted a tough tone towards ministry officials, telling them that workdays start at 7:30 am and that the daily evening meeting will be held at 10 pm.


Reuters contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 04.01.09, 16:44
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