It's hard to understand the kneejerk outcry over the latest of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's periodic outbursts. Even before the ink was dry on his letter to leading foreign ministers worldwide, his words had already been denounced, without anyone bothering to consider the contents of his letter and the pointed truths that emerged from it.
Lieberman correctly diagnosed a government that is both an obstacle to peace and corrupt, and urged that it be replaced via elections. What's wrong with that? What's so terrible about it?
There is indeed one regime in the Middle East which is the obstacle to peace, and the peace-loving Israeli foreign minister was right in urging its replacement. This regime does everything possible to prevent any progress, to sabotage every chance and undermine every proposal and every possible partner. Once every few years, it also foments unnecessary regional wars.
Lieberman was also right in his touchy diagnosis that this regime is afflicted with corruption. After its previous prime minister was indicted on a long list of criminal charges and its president was thrown in jail, along with its one-time finance minister and several other ministers and elected officials, while a lengthy, complex criminal investigation is still pending against its current foreign minister, it's certainly possible to define this regime as "afflicted with corruption," at the very least.
Moreover, we're talking about a government that isn't really a government, a system in turmoil: In the government to which Lieberman was evidently referring in his letter, everyone does as he pleases. It's total anarchy. The foreign minister writes an official letter, the prime minister rejects it the very next day and says the letter doesn't reflect his opinion, and the defense minister says the letter undermines the national interest. No country could take a government like this seriously, and it's certainly not possible to make peace with it. Not for nothing does it have a terrible reputation worldwide.
In short, such a government - an obstacle to peace, corrupt, lacking any coordination - must be toppled, and the sooner the better. Lieberman was right.
To the long list of new heights of Israeli chutzpah, we can now add Lieberman's scandalous letter, which urges the replacement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Even the most moderate Palestinian statesman ever - there never has been, and, more importantly, never will be one as moderate and committed to nonviolence as he - is no good for Lieberman's Israel. To the megalomania of bombing Iran, in order to foment regime change, among other things, we can now add this megalomaniac idiocy, which is dwarfed only slightly by all its predecessors.
After Israel claimed for years that Yasser Arafat was the obstacle, after Hamas won power and became the obstacle as well, the foreign minister has now decided to add Abbas, too, to his list of people unfit to make peace with. After Israel claimed for years that only if the Palestinians stopped terror would there be peace, the Palestinians stopped terror - and nothing happened. Not even a settlement freeze. Nothing.
Lieberman the brilliant analyst - and even some of his opponents say no one surpasses him in this regard - did not, of course, bother to say who should take power in place of Abbas, who has been disqualified by the Israeli elections commission. Who exactly was he thinking of when he called for toppling Abbas? Of his party colleague, MK Anastassia Michaeli? Or another party colleague, MK David Rotem? That is evidently what he meant when he wrote that "the time has come to consider a creative solution, to think 'outside the box,' in order to strengthen the Palestinian leadership."
Lieberman said he decided to write the letter because he felt that his messages on the Palestinian issue weren't being properly conveyed. And indeed, his messages have now gotten through perfectly: Israel has a clown for a foreign minister, who enjoys throwing stones every so often to make a stir and attract attention, until he once again immerses himself in his mysterious business affairs and vanishes into oblivion.
But Lieberman, of course, isn't the real issue. No one on earth, except perhaps in Belarus, takes him seriously any more. It's not hard to guess what the recipients of his letter did after reading it. Even his influence at home is waning: In order to not make peace, we have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Nevertheless, we need Lieberman. Who else can supply us with grotesque interludes like that ridiculous letter, amid all the truly serious threats?
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