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Israeli soldiers and Border Police evict and arrest some Palestinians and foreign activists at a tent ‘settlement’ they tried to set up south of the West Bank city of Hebron, yesterday.
JERUSALEM: Israel has no chance of signing a permanent peace accord with the Palestinians and should instead seek a long-term interim deal, the most powerful political partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday.
The remarks by Avigdor Lieberman, an ultranationalist whose joint party list with Netanyahu narrowly won a January 22 election while centrist challengers made surprise gains, seemed designed to dampen expectations at home and abroad of fresh peacemaking.
In a television interview, ex-foreign minister Lieberman linked the more than two-year-old impasse to pan-Arab political upheaval that has boosted Islamists hostile to the Jewish state. These include Hamas, rivals of US-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who control the Gaza Strip and spurn coexistence with Israel though they have mooted extended truces.
“Anyone who thinks that in the centre of this socio-diplomatic ocean, this tsunami which is jarring the Arab world, it is possible to arrive at the magic solution of a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians does not understand,” Lieberman told Israel’s Channel Two.
“This is impossible. It is not possible to solve the conflict here. The conflict can be managed and it is important to manage the conflict ... to negotiate on a long-term interim agreement.”
Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev noted that Lieberman, in the Channel Two interview, had said he was expressing his own opinion.
Lieberman’s role in the next coalition government is unclear as he faces trial for corruption.