Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Netanyahu, Lieberman spar as FM says no peace ‘for decades’

Associated Press photo of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaking at the United Nations General Assembly.
At the United Nations General Assembly Today, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman raised eyebrows with his controversial remarks regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the likelihood of a peaceful resolution within the immediate future. Lieberman remarked that peace with the Palestinians "could take decades" and that a complete resolution "would not include land for peace but rather an exchange of a populated territory". Lieberman of course was speaking about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the West Bank, a predominately Arab settlement.

Immediately after the reaction to the controversial comments began to erupt, Prime Minister Binymain Netanyahu did his very best to control the damage. Netanyahu's office released several statements distancing the Prime Minister and the negotiating committee from Lieberman's comments. The prime minister’s office repeated that it was the prime minister that was handling negotiations regarding the conflict. Although various positions and opinions are openly discussed internally, the office of the prime minister has not made the specific determination that Lieberman has proclaimed.  

However, Lieberman's comments were not just a blanket statement of doom and gloom but rather his own personal, frank assessment of what needs to be done. Lieberman framed many of the elements of conflict including the Muslim influence on the Palestinians as well the connection between Iran, terrorism and its incitement of conflict itself. Lieberman argues that in order to build lasting peace, several things must be done. First and foremost, there must be an agreement that is motivated by the "need to raise an entire new generation that will have mutual trust and will not be influenced by enticement and extremist messages". Additionally, Lieberman advocated moving or adjusting borders rather than population transfer or "land for peace". Lieberman stressed that "states and nations must be in balance in order to ensure peace".

This is a fascinating article and with its controversial subject matter, it is no wonder that Prime Minister Netanyahu was angry and did his best to distance himself and his office from Lieberman's comments. The information in the article is extremely reliable as it is mainly transcripts of what was said at the UN General Assembly as well as statements from the Prime Minister's office and reaction from Foreign Minister. The only thing about the article that I feel was unreliable was the unnamed government source. Although much of what the source said is standard and in line with the official response from the Prime Minister's office, the unnamed source seems to be used more as a way to move the article along rather than presenting any new or valuable information.

The authors of this article are Jordana Horn and Tovah Lazaroff as well as the JPOST.com staff. It is obvious to me that in addition to presenting the facts, the authors seem greatly influenced by Lieberman's comments. This article is clearly written from the perspective that of an official going "off script" and speaking the truth. This point of view is referenced at the end of the article when Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon comments that "I think this was one of the best speeches I've heard, I think it was a speech with great vision, wisdom and courage. Ayalon goes on to sum up what I believe is the author's point of view that "Maybe some people are afraid of the truth, but Mr. Lieberman was showing to the world a mirror through which realities in the world, and especially the Middle East, could be seen clearly,".

This article is from the Jerusalem Post and it can be found by clicking here.

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