U.S. Stresses Commitment to Two-State Solution After Lieberman's 'Dead End' Remarks

By Barak Ravid and Natasha Mozgovaya (Haaretz) and News Agencies

Published April 07, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that Western-backed peace efforts with the Palestinians had reached a “dead end” and that Israel intended to present new ideas for diplomacy, prompting a response from the State Department re-emphasizing the American goal of establishing two states.

“There is definitely a regression here and we must understand and admit that we are at a dead end,” Lieberman told members of Yisrael Beiteinu during a party meeting. “We definitely intend to present new ideas.” The Yisrael Beiteinu chairman also said that he planned to remain foreign minister for at least “four and a half years,” and vowed that his faction would stay a central component of the current government coalition until the next round of elections.

The State Department did not react directly to Lieberman’s statements, preferring instead to reiterate Washington’s commitment to a two-state solution.

“We are going to hear comments from various parties about how they assess things,” State Department spokesperson Robert Wood said. “The important objective for us is to get this process back on track so that we can get to this two-state solution that we think is in the best interests of not only the Israelis and the Palestinians, but the United States and the rest of the world.”

Lieberman’s comments came a day after U.S. President Barack Obama, on his first long presidential visit abroad, said that he believed peace in the Middle East as long as Israelis and Palestinians each make compromises.

“I think we have a sense of what those compromises should be and will be. Now what we need is political will and courage on the part of leadership,” Obama told a students meeting in Istanbul at the end of a two-day visit to Turkey.

In response to these remarks, Lieberman said Tuesday that external bodies must cease pressuring Israel with regard to the peace process.

“[Israel] has never gotten involved in the business of other, and I expected the same, that nobody will stand there with a stopwatch in hand,” Lieberman told members of his party.

“They must let us develop a serious and responsible plan. People have begun working with vigor on developing new ideas,” he said. We are working together with the prime minister, and we have no underhanded intentions to build an agenda of our own. We must work together, because these are big challenges.”

At the handover ceremony at the Foreign Ministry last week, Lieberman sounded an aggressive foreign policy stance, emphasizing that the new government is not bound by the Annapolis process, under which former prime minister Ehud Olmert and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni conducted negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the core issues of a final-status arrangement.

Lieberman later told Haaretz that he was “committed to the road map” as approved by the cabinet, despite having opposed it during the 2003 vote.

“Israel undertook obligations regarding the road map and it will honor them, but there must be reciprocity,” he told Haaretz in an interview earlier this week.

“Unlike others, we will carry out everything that is in writing, and there will be no contradiction between what we say and what we mean, but we will stick to the phased nature of the road map,” he said.

“We will conduct talks with the PA, but we want to make sure their ‘checks’ don’t bounce. The Palestinians must first of all confront terror, take control of Gaza and demilitarize Hamas. Without these, it will be difficult to move forward.”

Meanwhile, Police questioned Lieberman on Tuesday morning for approximately five hours as part of a corruption probe against him for the third time since he took office as foreign minister.

Police believe the Yisrael Beiteinu leader will need to be questioned once more before fraud squad detectives can complete their work and hand over material from the investigation to the State Prosecutor’s Office.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.