We interview former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer on the Obama administration’s new approach to policy making in the Middle East, Israeli-Palestinian relations, and the future of the two-state solution. Recorded January 26.
Here’s the first post from WPRB’s new Washington correspondent, Walter Fick, who will be posting on the latest headlines in international relations and the political goings-on of DC. Check back early next week for Fick’s coverage of the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center.
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, said in an interview today that attempts by Palestine to declare independence next year could lead Israel to revoke prior peace agreements and annex portions of the West Bank. Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has not released any official response to Lieberman’s comments, an official reportedly said that Israel’s long-standing policy is to respond unilaterally to any unilateral Palestinian actions.
Lieberman also emphasized that Israel will continue with plans to build settlements in the West Bank and lashed out at Turkey’s government. Israel and Turkey, another key US partner in the region, have strong economic and military ties but have been at odds Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan censured Israeli military actions in Gaza.
Lieberman told an Israeli newspaper that Erdogan’s actions have damaged decades of “excellent” ties between the two nations and that the Prime Minister is “slowly turning into Gadhafi or Hugo Chavez (the leaders of Libya and Venezuala).”
This latest saber-rattling comes in the midst of a well-publicized dispute between Israel and the White House. White House officials originally felt offended when Israel announced the construction of new settlements in Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the country last month. Since then, relations between the two allies have reportedly been tense, although Netanyahu sat down with Obama for several hours during his visit to the United States.
Israeli newspapers report that Netanyahu will return to Washington next week to attend the Nuclear Security Summit. No plans have been announced, however, for him to meet with either Obama or Erdogan during that time. The White House has also not yet commented on Lieberman’s interview.