Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman praised US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday, criticizing Economics Minister Naftali Bennett’s (Jewish Home) attack on the US diplomat’s handling of peace talks.
“Kerry is a true friend of Israel, he leads the process correctly and has the right to think differently from that of belligerent Naftali Bennett,” Liberman was quoted by Walla! as saying, adding that “Bennett has notes on everything.”
“All I hear is a competition of who can be more blunt and belligerent against Kerry,” he continued. “We support peace with the Palestinians, but not at any price [. . .] if I have to choose between the unity of the people and the unity of [Israel with] Judea and Samaria, I choose the unity of the people.”
Liberman is referring to comments made by Bennett Thursday slamming the US framework for talks, noting that US policy mistakes have damaged Israel several times over the past several decades. However, Bennett did not attack Kerry himself over the remarks; he simply stated that Israel would prefer to take matters into its own hands. In contrast, Liberman’s fellow Likud Beytenu MK, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, famously kicked up a storm after calling Kerry “obsessive and messianic” earlier this year.
Liberman addressed talk in the media over the option to change the composition of the coalition, opposing such a shift. “There is no such option. Anyone who talks about it, let him know that we will not allow any change in the coalition,” he stated, calling for coalition members to “calm down.”
“Imagine if this was a commercial company whose board members are busy slandering each other and leaking information against each other,” he reflected. “Such a company would fail.”
Liberman also lambasted Meretz party chairman Zahava Gal-On over her accusation that Prime Minister Netanyahu was “using” PA incitement as an excuse to derail talks.
“Meretz and Zahava Gal-On have to decide whether or not they are a party of Arabs in Israel or are a Zionist party,” he fired.
Gal-On responded vehemently to the charges. “[Liberman] is the last person who can lecture Meretz on values, Zionism, and democracy,” she claimed. “His political activity is full of corruption investigations and shady connections, and his public initiatives are fascist and anti-democratic.”
Gal-On has failed to condemn the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ongoing incitement and has even invited senior Fatah member Jibril Rajoub, who threatened to use a nuclear weapon against Israel, to Meretz’s national conference.
She later blasted the Defense Ministry for preventing Rajoub’s participation at the conference, to which Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon replied that he had decided to block Rajoub’s entry to Israel because of his constant incitement against the Jewish state.