A statement by the Quartet on the Middle East calling upon Israel and the Palestinians to return immediately to negotiations is a significant Israeli achievement, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday.
On Friday, the Palestinian Authority officially submitted its bid for recognition in the United Nations, a move that was met with stern U.S. and EU objections, both advocating the resumption of peace talks over a unilateral move at the United Nations.
Following the Palestinian Authority's UN bid, the Quartet - comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United States and the United Nations – released a statement urging both sides to return to the negotiations table in order to achieve peace within a limited timetable.
On Monday, Lieberman lauded the Quartet announcement as an Israeli achievement, saying he suggested those who felt the Palestinian move was an Israeli diplomatic failure to "see and hear the U.S. State Department statements, to read [U.S. President Barack] Obama's speech, and the Quartet's statement."
"I have my reservations concerning the Quartet's statement, but, at the end of the day, when the Quartet, the UN, the EU, and the United States, sign a document that states that peace talks would renew without preconditions, I think that's noteworthy. The Israeli delegation brought back a significant achievement," Lieberman said.
The Foreign Minister discounted prevalent fears of a massive global diplomatic backlash following the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations, saying: "There isn't a diplomatic tsunami, not even rain on a cloudy day."
"We're past it, we know how to withstand pressures, and we shall continue to do so in the future," he added.
According to the foreign minister, the Israeli leadership "stood its ground," adding: "when you keep your forces unified and believe that what you are doing is right, eventually everyone is convinced you are right."
The Foreign Minister also commented on the support Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi gave the Palestinian delegation, saying: "The representatives of terror organizations in the Knesset came to New York as part of the Palestinian delegation. I saw as they spit fire and brimstone against Israel."
Lieberman also spoke of ongoing tensions with Turkey over Israel's refusal to apologize for its raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in 2010, blaming any diplomatic distress on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We don't have any problems with Turkey. We respect the Turkish people and Turkey as a state. Our problem is with the current leadership, which is radically Muslim, supports terror and nourishes terror," Lieberman said, adding: "No wonder Erdogan supports Hamas. The IHH is on the terror list in Israel as well as in Germany, as so is Hezbollah."
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