Lieberman Slams Netanyahu Over Secret Turkey Meeting

Is Israel's Undiplomatic FM Being Cut Out of Foreign Affairs?

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman openly blasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, following reports that a top Netanyahu aide was dispatched on a secret diplomatic mission to Turkey without consulting with him.

“The Foreign Minister takes a very serious view of the fact that this occurred without informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” his official statement read. And the minister perhaps has a point, as foreign diplomacy is supposed to be the purview of the foreign minister.

Yet people have been saying all along that the undiplomatic Lieberman was ill-suited to the position of top Israeli diplomat, and it seems that as time has gone on the Netanyahu government is cutting him out of most serious diplomacy, while letting him keep the title of foreign minister.

Indeed, Netanyahu dispatched his Industry Minister to Turkey to talk with Ahmet Davutoglu because in all likelihood Lieberman would have refused to do so, as his foreign ministry has been at odds with Turkey for months and has been trying to portray them as a new enemy since Israeli soldiers attacked a Turkish aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip.

The US has been particularly eager to see Israel and Turkey reconcile, and to the extent that Netanyahu might be able to salve over the rising tensions, it would clearly not be done with members of the Lieberman-run Foreign Ministry.

And despite Lieberman’s sudden outrage, the policy of excluding him from the really important diplomacy is nothing new. He has openly refused to partipate in the Palestinian peace talks, even when they have been going on, claiming that it was a “conflict of interest” for him as a settler.

Lieberman was given the role primarily on the basis that the Likud Party needed his help to form a right-far-right coalition. Yet as that coalition has caused more and more international scandals, the lack of a usable foreign ministry is being seen increasingly as a liability, and a serious one.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.