Sunday, February 22, 2009

Middle East peace: various chances

Avigdor Lieberman had its own blog hosted by Jerusalem Post, between February and December 2007. He don't have too many posts, but excepting his last post, about "Gush Etzion celebration", another one is to be taken into account, about Israel need to be part of EU and NATO, point of view expressed as well in a Ha'aretz opinion back in 2007.

In what concerns the relation between politics and religion, it is likely to enter in conflict with the Sepharadim, religious establishment, without being a proper supported of easing the weight of the religious decision in the public life. We have to keep in mind he and his parties were supported by the immigrants from the former Soviet Union space and it is not very clear how it will use this support for building a long-lasting political capital. As minister, Lieberman encouraged the Russian Jews all over the world to immigrate in Israel. Up to 48% of the recent immigrants in Israel are coming from Russia and former Soviet Union space and their degree of integration and acceptance in the Israeli society is extremely problematic.

In various public statements, Lieberman touched upon problematic issues of Israeli society. He advocates that all Israeli citizens, including anti-Zionist Haredim - in addition to Israeli Arabs - take loyalty tests and recognize Israel as a Jewish State. Those who refuse would be stripped of their citizenship, but could remain in Israel as permanent residents.

Another question is related to his position towards the substance of the peace process in the Middle East. In a recent book, former US ambassador to Israel, Martin S. Indyk, revealed that once, Lieberman hold secret talks on territorial concessions to the Palestinian Authority with one of Yasser Arafat's key advisers. "The facts quoted in the book are not true", commented Irene Etinger, Avigdor Lieberman's spokeswoman. He quit Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition in January 2008 in protest at new, U.S.-sponsored talks with the Palestinians.

In his 2004 book, My Truth, he is drawing his kind of vision (:202-203):

"Also overall security responsibility should be placed in the end on Egypt"
"Jordan such an arrangement should give support...including the
issuing of passports and taking of overall and comprehensive security
responsibility for what transpires in Judea and Samaria"
"Thus for practical purposes this arrangement will be, almost certainly, a
kind of two confederations - in one case with the Jordanians, and in the
other case with Egypt."

In politics, changing often the basic perspectives it is not something outrageously abnormal. The flexibility could be an example of realism, by answering properly to a permanently changing situation. What cards Lieberman will play and with whom it is very important because, in relation with this the whole map of the Middle East will need to be reconsidered. The last visit of an US delegation in Syria, the Washington call for an urgent solution at the Iran Nuclear Problem, the France and Germany initiatives in the region are sending a clear message in the region: no more wars and confrontation, let's play peaceful - zero-sum, at least - games.

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