Only Lieberman Will Bring Peace

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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The only politician who can bring peace?Credit: Shahar Azran

I strongly suggest that anyone who has not given up on the idea of peace (and there are doubtless plenty of good reasons to despair – not just because of our behavior, but also the behavior of our enemies) should refrain from rejoicing at the troubles facing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. And not simply because one should never rejoice in the downfall of one’s enemies.

In fact, the opposite is true: Lieberman is not an enemy of peace. Looking at the situation realistically, he is the only chance we have of obtaining peace in the foreseeable future.

Anyone who stopped reading this column after the first paragraph should know that the above assertion is not born out of wishful thinking. I have news for anyone who sees himself as a loyal foot soldier in the peace corps: the facts speak for themselves.

I know – and, as former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin used to say, I will not go into details – that not long ago, Lieberman and a very senior Arab figure drew up the framework for a regional peace accord. The agreement, which would receive the immediate backing of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and other moderate players in the stormy regional seas, would be brought “as is” to the Palestinians, who would have little choice but to accept it.

Lieberman himself has stopped believing in the effectiveness of bilateral talks with the Palestinians. According to Lieberman (and, following personal experience, it is a view I share with him), talks between us and the Palestinians will yield nothing but repeated crises.

Lieberman believes that the London Agreement, which, as foreign minister, Shimon Peres reached with King Hussein of Jordan in 1987, was the best Israel could hope for. In order to ensure that such an agreement is not once again shot down by a prime minister who opposes it, Lieberman would bring his proposal directly to the people – even if that means bypassing the prime minister.

Lieberman’s prediction is that, by the end of 2015, he will be able to ask the Israeli public to pass judgment on a package of agreements between us and the Arab world. He believes that such an agreement would have the backing of 80 percent of Israelis.

Sounds good, no? The problem is that, at the moment, after the strategic attack that was launched against his Yisrael Beiteinu party, there seems little chance that Lieberman will remain in a position where he can be a significant player in such a proposal.

My argument is that Lieberman alone has the ability to save our country from many more years of rule by the messianic right – which seems to be the most likely outcome of the upcoming election.

All those who turn their noses up at the very uttering of the name “Lieberman” have failed to understand that he is more aware of what is happening than the vast majority of his parliamentary colleagues. And he definitely has more character.

Lieberman is not rightist and not extreme. He is the most flexible politician on the scene. His peace proposal, which is based on the Arab peace initiative – which has been scandalously rejected by Israel since 2002 – is both revolutionary and practical.

The clause in the proposal which would offer Israel’s Arab citizens the option of remaining part of the State of Israel or being annexed to a neighboring Arab state predictably raised accusations of racism. The truth, however, is that Lieberman is anything but racist. He is simply our polygraph test. As Joshua asks when he nears Jericho, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” (Joshua 5:13)

I know that, by advocating for Lieberman in this way, I am harming one of the issues I hold dearest: I am aware of the fact that the Yisrael Beiteinu leader doesn’t give a hoot about animal rights. He cares as much about them as he does about last year’s snow.

And still, I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who cares about peace and who still believes in peace to think long and hard before casting their vote on March 17 – and to consider voting for Avigdor Lieberman.

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