Following a controversial speech at the UN General Assembly by Israeli Foreign, Avigdor Lieberman, in which he said peace could take decades, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a statement rejecting the speech, stating that it was not coordinated. Lieberman said that peace is unlikely in the current stage, and the Land for Peace principle should be dropped during final status talks with the Palestinians.
A statement by the office of Netanyahu said that the speech of Lieberman does not represent Israel’s official stance regarding the peace process, and that the speech was not coordinated with Netanyahu, the person who runs the talks on the Israeli side.
The statement added that different segments of any peace deal will only be determined on the negotiations table.
Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak of the Labor Party, also stated that Lieberman’s words do not represent Israel’s official stance, and added that the Labor party believes in the necessity of negotiations in order to achieve peace.
In his UN speech, Tuesday in New York, Lieberman said that the solution should not be land swap but should instead be based on “demography”.
He said that one of the issue that create the conflict is “constant contact between peoples of two nations and two different languages”.
Lieberman also demanded the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and added that the issue of the refugees and Jerusalem are obstructing the talks.
He stated that, “through its agents”, Iran can foil any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and with Lebanon.
His statement led Palestinian delegates attending the meeting to walk out while the Palestinian permanent observer at the UN, Riyad Mansour, told Reuters that Lieberman is “totally isolated from reality”.
Israeli PM, Netanyahu, was fast in rejecting the statements of Lieberman and said that he hopes that his upcoming Paris meeting with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, next month will be positive.
Netanyahu also phoned French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, informing them that he is interested in productive talks with Abbas in order to achieve a peace deal within a year.
U.S. Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, will be holding meetings on Wednesday with Israeli officials and intends to hold a meeting on Thursday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
On his side, Abbas said that negotiations with Israel cannot be held while it resumes its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem.