Lieberman: PA will blame failure of peace talks on Israel

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman addresses his Yisrael Beiteinu Party members last week. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)–Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday the Palestinian leadership is not serious about negotiations, which are doomed to fail, and is already getting ready to blame Israel for their failure.

Lieberman told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that that “the Palestinians are preparing the ground” to blame Israel when talks break down. A second round of preliminary negotiations took place between the sides in Amman on Monday.

The foreign minister said the Palestinians had joined the peace talks only because they felt they could not refuse the invitation from Jordan’s King Abdullah. The Palestinians are using the opportunity to “prepare excuses and transfer the responsibility for the talks’ failure to Israel,” he said.

The reason for this, Lieberman said, is because “as far as the Palestinians are concerned, they were dragged to negotiations in Jordan against their will. They intend to continue with the meetings in Jordan until January 26, and then once again storm the Security Council and the criminal tribunal in The Hague.”

The Palestinian Authority is interested in “internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by unilaterally pursuing statehood via the United Nations, Lieberman said. “Anyone who talks about a political breakthrough with the Palestinians doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about. The key word is managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said.

“Any future settlement with the Palestinians will have to take into account the issue of Arab Israelis, otherwise it would be political suicide,” Lieberman added. “The Palestinians themselves are also trying to pull the Arab-Israeli issue into the conflict, and that is why European officials tried to intervene, as opposed to the past.”

The foreign minister denied claims that the lack of progress with the Palestinians is responsible for Israel’s increasing international isolation. “The fact is that we cannot keep up with the amount of requests by senior officials to come to Israel,” he said.

At Monday’s session in Amman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy, Yitzhak Molho, was to present Israel’s reply to a Palestinian position paper on borders and security, which chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat submitted to Molho at last week’s first meeting.

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