The new Israeli government’s foreign policy concepts
Take-A-Pen helps you here to get familiar with the new Israeli government’s foreign policy concepts from the first source – instead of the global media’s not always reliable interpretations.
Those who questioned the new right-wing FM, Liberman's intentions, were surprised. He spoke clearly about Israel's firm strive for peace; the change is that he believes, together the overwhelming majority of Israelis today, that not further unilateral Israeli gestures, but practical agreements kept with mutual reponsibility, can bring peace.
Statement by incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
At the ministerial inauguration ceremony - Thursday, April 02, 2009
Good afternoon, honorable outgoing Foreign Minister, honorable outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister, incoming Deputy Foreign Minister, Director-General, Ministry employees, honored guests,
When my fellow students and I studied international relations, and learned what an international system is, we learned that there is a State and there are international organizations and all kinds of global economic corporations. Things have changed since then and, unfortunately, in the modern system, there are countries that are semi-states. It is hard to call a country like Somalia a state in the full sense of the word and the same holds true for the various autonomies in Eastern Europe, in the Balkans and here as well. It is even hard to call a country like Iraq a state in the full sense of the word. And even worse, there are now international players that are irrational, like the Al Qaeda organization. And we can certainly also ask if the leader of a strong and important country like Iran is a rational player.
In my view, we must explain to the world that the priorities of the international community must change, and that all the previous benchmarks - the Warsaw Pact, the NATO Alliance, socialist countries, capitalist countries - have changed. There is a world order that the countries of the free world are trying to preserve, and there are forces, or countries or extremist entities that are trying to violate it.
The claim that what is threatening the world today is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a way of evading reality. The reality is that the problems coming from the direction of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq.
What is important is to maintain global and regional stability. Egypt is definitely an important country in the Arab world, a stabilizing factor in the regional system and perhaps even beyond that, and I certainly view it as an important partner. I would be happy to visit Egypt and to host Egyptian leaders here, including the Egyptian Foreign Minister - all based on mutual respect.
We will honor all the agreements and all the undertakings of previous Israeli governments and act exactly according to the Road Map. I think that we have been disparaging many concepts, and we have shown the greatest distain of all for the word "peace." The fact that we say the word "peace" twenty times a day will not bring peace any closer. There have been two governments here that took far-reaching measures: the Sharon government and the Olmert government. They took dramatic steps and made far-reaching proposals. We have seen the disengagement and witnessed the Annapolis accord. I read in the newspaper about the dramatic proposals made by the Prime Minister to the other side, which I do not think have ever been made, outside of Barak's visit to Camp David.
Yisrael Beiteinu was not then part of the coalition, Avigdor Liberman was not the foreign minister and we even if we wanted to, we would have been unable to prevent the arrival of peace. But I do not see that it brought peace. To the contrary. We have seen that during this period, after all the gestures that we made, after all the dramatic steps we took and all the far reaching proposals we presented, in the past few years this country has gone through wars - the Second War in Lebanon and Operation Cast Lead - and not because we choose to. I have not seen peace here. It is precisely when we made all the concessions that I saw the Durban Conference, I saw two countries in the Arab world suddenly sever relations, recalling their ambassadors - Mauritania and Qatar. Qatar suddenly became extremist.
We are also losing ground every day in public opinion. Does anyone think that concessions, and constantly saying "I am prepared to concede," and using the word "peace" will lead to anything? No, that will just invite pressure, and more and more wars. "Si vis pacem, para bellum" - if you want peace, prepare for war, be strong.
We definitely want peace, but the other side also bears responsibility. We have proven this more than any other country in the world. No country has made concessions the way that Israel has. Since 1977, we have given up areas of land three times the size of the State of Israel. So we have proven the point.
The Oslo process began in 1993. Sixteen years have passed since then and I do not see that we are any closer to a permanent settlement. There is one document that binds us and it is not the Annapolis Conference. That has no validity. When we drafted the basic government policy guidelines, we certainly stated that we would honor all the agreements and all the undertakings of previous governments. The continuity of government is respected in Israel. In the cabinet I voted against the Road Map, but that was the only document approved by the cabinet and by the Security Council believe as Resolution 1505. It is a binding resolution and it binds this government as well.
The Israeli government never ratified the Annapolis accord. Neither the cabinet nor the Knesset ever ratified it, so anyone who wants to amuse himself can continue to do so. I have seen all the proposals made so generously by Ehud Olmert, but I have not seen any result.
So we will therefore act exactly according to that document, the Road Map, including the Tenet document and the Zinni document. I will never agree to our waiving all the clauses - I believe there are 48 of them - and going directly to the last clause, negotiations on a permanent settlement. No. These concessions do not achieve anything. We will adhere to it to the letter, exactly as written. Clauses one, two, three, four - dismantling terrorist organizations, establishing an effective government, making a profound constitutional change in the Palestinian Authority. We will proceed exactly according to the clauses. We are also obligated to implement what is required of us in each clause, but so is the other side. They must implement the document in full, including - as I said - the Zinni document and the Tenet document. I am not so sure that the Palestinian Authority or even we in those circles that espouse peace so much, are aware of the existence of the Tenet and Zinni documents.
When was Israel at its strongest in terms of public opinion around the world? After the victory of the Six Day War, not after all the concessions in Oslo Accords I, II, III and IV. Anyone who wants to maintain his status in public opinion must understand that if he wants respect, he must first respect himself. I think that, at least from our standpoint, that will be our policy.