A minister who’s a ticking bomb
It's difficult to think of any other country whose leadership so fears the unpredictability of its foreign minister.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has apparently decided to break his long silence and no longer spare the Israeli public and the world from his opinions.
In his letter to the Middle East Quartet, as reported in Wednesday’s Haaretz, Lieberman calls for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas − whom he says is “personally acting to undermine” the peace process − to be removed and replaced in new PA elections.
The letter may have momentarily silenced the now-routine discourse about Iran. It is pointless even to argue with this frantic suggestion, which attempts not only a crude intervention in the PA’s internal affairs but mainly a groundless effort to shift responsibility for the failure of negotiations onto the PA.
The troublesome aspect of the letter is the way in which the foreign minister can, not for the first time, come out against the government’s stated policy and present ideas that could sabotage Israel’s fragile relations with the PA and the international community, as though he were a member of the opposition rather than a senior minister.
Lieberman also accused Egypt of breaking the Camp David Accords by bringing forces into Sinai, and demanded that Israel be extremely strict with it on keeping to every tiny detail, as though Israel was not the one to allow Egypt to bring in extra troops to fight terror.
As usual and as expected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rushed to put out the flames Lieberman tried to ignite and stated, appropriately, that the minister’s letter does not represent the government’s position.
One has to wonder, how can a foreign minister who does not represent the government’s position remain in office? And are the prime minister and the public going to be surprised in the future by Lieberman’s sorties into state affairs?
It is difficult to think of another country whose leadership fears its foreign minister’s unexpected activity. This is a minister whose sum total of foreign-affairs achievements is nothing and whose damages are piling up.
The prime minister must not make do with contradicting Lieberman’s statements. He should not wash his hands of Lieberman’s statements, but of the minister himself. Israel deserves a foreign minister who is not a ticking bomb.