Lieberman - Fitoussi - Nov 14, 2011
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, November 14, 2011. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that that "the Palestinians are preparing the ground" to blame the failure of peace talks on Israel.

Speaking at the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Lieberman said that "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 storm again the Security Council and the criminal tribunal in the Hague."

According to Lieberman, the Palestinians "are interested in internationalizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." "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.

Lieberman also talked about the Iranian nuclear program. "Iran has no intention of discontinuing their military nuclear program," he said. "Today, everyone in the international community knows that the only way to stop the program is through real sanctions on the central bank and the oil industry."

"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 the claim that Israel is facing increased political isolation. "The fact is that we cannot keep up with the amount of requests by senior officials to come to Israel," he said.

Lieberman also touched on Israel's relations with Turkey, saying "you can kneel before Turkey all you want and it won't help. Erdogan himself said no apology will bring to the normalization of relations."

Israeli and Palestinian envoys were scheduled to hold a second face-to-face meeting in Amman on Monday, a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official confirmed.

The official told DPA that the Palestinians expected little from the Israelis.

The Palestinian position on Israeli settlement activity remained the same, he added, reiterating that Israel must freeze construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, before serious negotiations could take place.

If no serious process was underway by a January 26 deadline, the Palestinians would change tactics and look into other options, the official reiterated.

It is the second Jordanian-sponsored meeting, after Israel and the Palestinians held their first direct talks in nearly 16 months on Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy, Isaac Molho, was expected to submit Israel's reply to a paper outlining the Palestinian position on two negotiating issues: borders and security. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat submitted the Palestinian position to Molho in last week's meeting.