Less than a month after Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman publicly declared all peace talks with the Palestinians were dead, the controversial Yisraeli Beiteinu head used a visit to Rome to insist that the government was dedicated to producing a peace deal with the Palestinians, and said he was confident that the Netanyahu government would “reach a secure and definitive peace” with not just the Palestinians, but all the Arab nations as well.
Further pointing to a dramatic shift in the hawkish government’s official position, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon says that, despite Lieberman’s previous claims to the contrary, the government would abide by the commitments of previous governments and would pursue a two-state solution.
The change of heart likely comes from the massive loss of international support the government has seen in the month since the Netanyahu government took over and started publicly opposing peace. Even the United States, notoriously unwilling to question Israeli policy, began to publicly contradict them, though Lieberman insists that the Obama Administration will accept any position Israel chooses to take.
Israel has demanded that the European Union back off its public criticism of the Netanyahu government, and Lieberman’s visit is aimed primarily at repairing the damaged relationship with them. Whether it marks an actual policy shift or is just diplomatic grandstanding, however, remains to be seen.