Already off to a provocative start in his first major statement since assuming office, Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared Israel to no longer be bound by the peace commitments made at the 2007 Annapolis Conference.
The declaration underscored the policy of the new government, which was later confirmed by other sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the Israeli government intends to distance itself from the US-sponsored peace initiatives and the talks regarding Palestinian statehood are all but dead.
In an attempt to provide somewhat more nuance to his stance, Lieberman declared that the government was still open to mutual peace moves, but ruled out any concessions to the Palestinian Authority, saying that concessions “will only invite more pressure and more wars.”
Though abandoning the peace process is hardly a surprising move in and of itself – and Lieberman’s comments were certainly in keeping with the platform of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, which rules out returning any land to the Palestinians in return for peace, it underscores the peril the Netanyahu government has put itself in by making such a decidedly un-diplomatic individual in charge of Israel’s foreign ministry. As he tries to portray his government as intent on seeking peace, his chief diplomat is pulling no punches about the government’s true intentions.