Photo: AFP
Yisrael Beiteinu's Lieberman
Photo: AFP

Lieberman offers alternative approach to conflict

Yisrael Beiteinu chief says dispute not only with Palestinians but larger Arab world, insists 'comprehensive regional agreement' needed.

Israel's top politicians convened Wednesday at Calcalist's Forecast Conference and exchanged verbal blows as a massive corruption scandal involving Yisrael Beiteinu broke and an IDF soldier was seriously wounded from cross-border fire with Gaza.



The right-wing faction's leader, Avigdor Lieberman, used the Calcalist platform to push his political position on the diplomatic dilemmas plaguing Israel. "I think one of the biggest mistakes we have is in identifying the conflict."


Avigdor Lieberman at Calcalist 2015 (Photo: Amit Shaal)
Avigdor Lieberman at Calcalist 2015 (Photo: Amit Shaal)


Lieberman claimed the dialogue on the conflict does not focus on the correct issues. "We talk all the time about the dispute between us and the Palestinians, but we have not made any progress in 21 years since Oslo – because we made the wrong diagnosis."


The hawkish politician suggested treating not only the Palestinians as party to the conflict, but all Arab states. "The approach I have advanced in the past year is a comprehensive regional agreement."


Lieberman brazenly claimed that "the left failed, and it continues along the path as if nothing has happened." In a veiled attack at former justice minister and chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, who was also at the Calcalist forum, Lieberman said, "I am not sure they know how to negotiate."


The Yisrael Beiteinu chairman also refuted the criticism from within the Likud claiming he has turned to the left-wing. "During the disengagement (from Gaza) five ministers – which as of today are still in the Likud – voted in favor. The only one to vote against was Uzi Landau, who has since switched to Yisrael Beiteinu. Thus, those who voted for disengagement should not pass judgment over who is 'real right' and who is pretending."


Lieberman's criticism spared few of his opponents. "No member of Knesset or Likud minister who lives in Raanana or Tel Aviv should rebuke a right-winger from Nokdim (in the West Bank)," Lieberman said, referring to Netanyahu, Israel Katz, Silvan Shalom, Limor Livnat, and Yival Steinitz.


Labor chairman Isaac Herzog (Photo: AFP)
Labor chairman Isaac Herzog (Photo: AFP)


The foreign minister also slammed the principles preached by Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. "One state for two people – the consequences for which are, first of all, a quick deterioration. But beyond that it means turning the State of Israel into a bi-national state, while my aim is Israel as a strong, Jewish state."


Lieberman offered a different approach. "I love that the initiative is in our hands; I always support those who take the initiative. Without taking initiative you cannot win. You cannot sit, clasping your hands; we have to lead."


"The division plan calls clearly for a Jewish state and an Arab state, and that is how it should be. When I talk about territory and population swaps – it must happen. Only an agreement with the Palestinians leads us nowhere. It brings us to another spiral, another deterioration, and another conflict," he insisted.


Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog, who spoke before Lieberman, slammed Prime Minister Netanyahu on economic and security issues. He referenced comments made Tuesday by the prime minister, in which Netanyahu said that if the left's two-state solution plan were to come about, Israelis would to take armored personal carriers to access the Kotel.


"I don't suggest that anyone in this election campaign, including the prime minister, who invents nonsense about APCs at the Kotel and so damages our Jerusalem, push aside the economic issue, the social issue, the cost of living, the socioeconomic gaps, and poverty from the agenda.


"Israeli society is under social and economic attack. The economic and social Qassam rockets – which are the direct result of Netanyahu's policies – fall on us daily. The sirens come one after the other," he said, citing several international and national warnings and reports regarding the dire state in Israel.


Moran Azulay contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 12.24.14, 23:04
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