The Media's Netanyahu-Lieberman Hate Fest
Avigdor Lieberman, new Israeli foreign minister and new demon of the MSM, has made his maiden speech. Not surprisingly, the reports highlighted negative reactions to it. The assembled diplomats were described as "cringing" and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as "grimacing" through his talk.
Responding to Lieberman's speech, Knesset Member Afu Aghbaria of the opposition Hadash Party said: "The ugliness of the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak [government] has been unmasked. I urge the international community to place it under a diplomatic embargo, just like they did to Austria under Jörg Haider."
Now why does Lieberman say some Israeli Arabs have a problem with loyalty to the state?
On Israel's relations with Egypt, Lieberman said: "Egypt is an important element in the Arab world. ... I will certainly be happy to visit Egypt, but I'll also be happy to see Egypt's leaders visit here, including the Egyptian foreign minister. I respect others and I want them to respect us; I'm in favor of the principle of reciprocity."
Lieberman was referring to the fact that although Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979 stipulating full diplomatic relations, Egyptian leaders do not come to Israel whereas Israeli officials shuttle to Cairo often. Since becoming Egypt's president in 1981, Hosni Mubarak has come to Israel once -- to attend former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's funeral. You're not supposed to mention this lack of reciprocity. Lieberman broke protocol by doing so.
On Israeli-Palestinian relations, Lieberman said Israel would not be obligated by the 2007 Annapolis conference, which neither the government nor the Knesset had ratified, but by the 2003 road map, which Israel did ratify and which calls explicitly for a Palestinian state. Before getting to that point, though, both sides are supposed to fulfill certain conditions. Israel is supposed to stop building settlements, and the Palestinians are supposed to end terrorism and incitement to terrorism. Or as Lieberman put it: "We will never agree to jump over all the clauses and go to the last one." That means that terrorism would have to stop before the Palestinians get their state. Makes your blood boil!
Meanwhile, as the MSM cringes and wrings its hands over the fate of peace, some other things have been happening that, if fairness and accuracy counted for anything, would put the onus on the other side instead of on Lieberman and Israel. This week, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attended the Arab summit conference in Doha, Qatar, and by all accounts was warmly received. The trouble is that early in March the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Bashir's arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from the genocidal atrocities in Darfur.