Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met Wednesday with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin. Lieberman invited Westerwelle to visit Israel and the latter reportedly accepted, saying he would be happy to visit Jerusalem soon.
The two statesmen discussed various issues, most notably the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. "The Israeli people want peace, but the other party must show good faith as well," Lieberman said, it what seems to be a mellower tone than that he took during his meetings with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, earlier this week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, he added, "Has made plenty of goodwill gestures to enable negotiations with the Palestinians. We are willing to resume talks immediately, with no preconditions, but the Palestinian must reciprocate."
Lieberman also announced Israel's intention to open a consulate in Munich next year. The two then discussed forming joint work groups meant to increase the cooperation between Jerusalem and Berlin.
Earlier Wednesday, Yisrael Beitenu announced that it would not quit the coalition if the settlement construction freeze was renewed. The announcement followed a similar statement by Shas Chairman Eli Yishai. The rightist parties' move is believed to be primarily meant to prevent Kadima from taking their place in the coalition.Senior sources in Yisrael Beitenu told Ynet, "Though we don't support an extension to the freeze, we won't quit the government. Yisrael Beitenu will quit only if the prime minister makes us quit."
Sources close to party chairperson Lieberman, declined to comment directly, but said that at least for now the issue of quitting is no longer even being considered.
Lieberman himself is against a construction moratorium, but a consensus seems to have formed in the coalition's rightwing factions that if Netanyahu is forced to give in to US pressure and renew the construction moratorium, this will not cause the government to collapse – mainly in order to keep Kadima out of the government.
"We won't quit, in order to ensure the freeze won't be even longer," Yishai said to Ynet. Similar sentiments were expressed by Lieberman, who asserted that the current government would serve a full term.
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