Both Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu and his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, are not wasting any time in indicating how they will deal with issues regarding Israeli domestic and foreign policies. An earlier post dealt with Lieberman’s speech on how he intends to helm his position, much to the chagrin of many world leaders, including those of both Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries who have diplomatic relations with Israel. In response to the European Union’s threat to suspend Israel’s upgrade in relations with the EU, Netanyahu’s curt response was “donâ€™t set conditions for us!”. Nothing more bottom line than that, it appears.
The Europeans, and most likely the Americans as well, are not very happy about the new Israeli government, and its apparent right-of-center foreign policy direction. In contrast from the previous government, led by the Kadima Party, and it’s now former and disgraced leader Ehud Olmert, the new political realties emanating from Jerusalem appear to be along the lines of “don’t xxxx with us!” Netanyahu added to his previous noted remark by saying “we (the government) are in the process of reviewing our policies -don’t rush us”.
All of this comes on the heels of the recent fiasco of the Conference Against Racism in Switzerland, the outcome of which we noted earlier. In light of this, and the upcoming Durban II conference, which will most likely be similar to the previous one (in which Israel was truncated by most of the delegates, causing the Israeli delegation to “exit, stage right”), both Mr. Lieberman and Netanyahu have decided on an entirely different course in which to steer the Israeli Ship of State.
On Lieberman’s part, the policy of “land for piece”, so popular with both Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni (now head of Kadima and leader of the opposition),
is no longer a negotiating factor in the new government. According to Lieberman, although the PA does not have to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” the radical Islamic Hamas organization “must be suffocated”. “Don’t even mention the ‘right of return’ ” Lieberman was quoted as saying in regards to Palestinians being able to return to and settle within Israel proper.
Both Netanyahu and Lieberman want the members of the EU to “stop speaking in slogans” in reference to reaching a solution with the Palestinians; and in regards to other policies affecting Israel and its relations with other countries, including Iran.
Ironically, Lieberman has been invited to visit Egypt, which was conveyed during a just concluded visit by Egyptian intelligence chief Omer Suleiman. What reception Lieberman is likely to get in Cairo or some other location (such as Sharem al Sheikh) remains to be seen. But in any respect, countries like Egypt may even respect the new political reality now in place in Israel, as at least it is more predictable than the “poochy moochy” one espoused by Olmert. In any respect, it’s now a whole new political ball game.