lieberman - Emil Salman - December 14 2010
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo by Emil Salman
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unleashed a string of vitriol Sunday attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the Turks liars, and labeling the Palestinian Authority as illegitimate.

At a conference of Foreign Ministry diplomats, Lieberman said that it would be impossible for Israel's governing coalition to consolidate a unified foreign policy acceptable to each member.

"Within the reality of the current political situation and the current coalition, it is not possible to present a real policy that would be accepted to everyone," he said. "If we were to present a policy program, the coalition simply would not exist anymore.

Lieberman also criticized Netanyahu, saying that his attempt to achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians that would tend to all core issues within a year is simply unrealistic.

"Even if we offer the Palestinians Tel Aviv and a retreat to 1947 borders, they will find a reason not to sign a peace agreement with us," Lieberman told over 170 Israeli diplomatic officials.

Lieberman insisted yet again that the only option is a long-term interim agreement and said that he has an alternative plan that has so far been shelved. "I am ready to present this plan at any moment, but the plan is very different than what other government officials are talking about these days," he said.

Lieberman added that Israel would react to diplomatic efforts by Palestinians to push for international recognition of a Palestinian state. Recently, five Latin American countries including Brazil and Argentina announced their recognition in a sovereign state of Palestine within 1967 borders.

"There is no need to enter a dispute with the Palestinians. We have a policy of sticks, not only carrots," said Lieberman. "It's not in the interest of the Palestinians to continue these moves and if we would have to deal with it, we will."

He went on to personally attack Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying that the Palestinian Authority is an "illegitimate government that doesn't conduct elections. We cannot reach an agreement with them."

In his speech, Lieberman also took a stab at Turkey, calling the Turkish prime minister and foreign minister liars. "I can no longer stand the lies that we hear from Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan, who travels to Lebanon and threatens Israel, or the lies uttered by the Turkish foreign minister who said yesterday that it would have taken Israel days to send Turkey the kind of aid that Ankara sent Israel during the Carmel fire," Lieberman said, noting that in 1999, Israel sent Turkey a 240-person delegation to aid earthquake victims.

Lieberman added that Israel will not apologize for killing nine Turkish activists during Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound ship in May. "The demand for an apology is more than chutzpah. Turkey is the one who should apologize before Israel. We are not the ones who began the escalation of events and the Turks can only blame themselves."