from Helena Cobban, earlier today:
He[Avigdor Lieberman, who was recently appointed foreign minister-JV] also told Haaretz's Barak Ravid, "You won't get any 'Israbluff' with me."
He said he considered Israel was still bound by the Road Map provisions from 2003-- but stated very clearly that the Palestinians must fulfill their side of the Road Map before Israel needed to do anything.
Regarding Syria, he told Ravid: "we have already said that we will not agree to withdraw from the Golan Heights. Peace will only be in exchange for peace."
The positions articulated by Lieberman are very familiar-- they are in line not only with his own previous rhetoric but also with the positions articulated and pursued by B. Netanyahu's earlier government in Israel, 1996-99. No-one should be surprised, therefore, that Netanyahu has done nothing so far to disavow Lieberman's most recent statements.
The foreign ministry statements were made at a ceremony in which Lieberman took over power from Tzipi Livni, who as head of Kadima will now be in opposition to the Netanyahu government. Many senior members of Israel's diplomatic corps were there. Some were reported as visibly shaken when they heard the new line they will have to go out to the world to sell.
I have to say it does clarify matters to have Lieberman speaking with such apparent frankness about what Israel's real policy towards it neighbors will be. In one of the news reports--I forget which-- he was quoted as saying that actually his policy will be the same as that followed on the ground by the preceding government, despite its formal adherence to Annapolis. "How many settlements did they dismantle? How many roadblocks?" he asked.
Very good questions.
So now, what he is promising is a change from the policy of "pursue the colonization and control project on the ground while hiding it by participating in all kinds of meaningless negotiations", by ripping off all the camouflage of the 'negotiations'."No more 'Israbluff'", indeed
But on TV it's all Obama and the Missus wowing them at the G20 in Europe, the (chintzy) gift of an Ipod to the Queen, and how Obama supposedly took Hu and Sarkozy aside and made them "listen to reason". On the CBS news Bob Simon and Katie Couric described the G20 as world leaders "setting aside their personal differences"(!?!) and coming together, as if serious policy disputes are just a cover for those churlish Europeans and their unwillingness to quit their fussin' n' feudin'. During a speech Obama compared the G20 meeting of 20 nations to the days of FDR and Churchill getting together and hashing things out, suggesting that it was a lot simpler then, which of course it was, if you look back with US-patented pretendo-vision® and Stalin wasn't part of the picture.
All the same, I couldn't help but think that with his odd metaphor Obama stumbled on another, unintentional meaning-- that when Roosevelt and Churchill met it was the meeting of the superpower on the wane with the new, emerging superpower, and that even though Obama strains mightily to persuade people to compare him to FDR, in this case he's playing, well...let's just say you know Hu's playing him.
cross-posted at Hugo Zoom.