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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is Israel a banana republic?

In September 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin rejected the 'Reagan Plan,' which called for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, by throwing the official envelope in the lap of the US ambassador and announcing that 'we are not a banana republic.' Tonight, as is often the case, Begin is sorely missed.

Israel's Channel 2 television reported tonight that French President Nikolai Sarcozy told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their meeting last week that he should get rid of foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and replace him with the previous foreign minister, Tzipi Livni. According to Israel Radio, Netanyahu's response to the story was that he never discusses the contents of his conversations with other leaders. If I were Lieberman, I would not be pleased.
According to Channel 2, in the closed-door meeting, Sarkozy told Netanyahu that he "needs to get rid of" Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"You need to get rid of this man," the French president reportedly said. "You need to remove him from this position."

Sarkozy had apparently taken issue with some of Lieberman's fringe political stances, Channel 2 reported, and he said that opposition Leader Tzipi Livni was a far better choice for the position of foreign minister. In response, Netanyahu was quoted as telling the French leader that Lieberman "sounds really different" in private conversations.

The French president, undeterred, reportedly retorted that even Jean-Marie Le Pen is a nice person in private conversations. Le Pen, the founder and president of the National Front party in France, is considered by many to hold somewhat extreme right-wing political views.

The Prime Minister's Office denied the report, while a Lieberman aide blasted the comments.

"If the words attributed to the French president are correct, then the intervention of the president of a respected, democratic state in the affairs of another democratic state is a grave and unacceptable thing," he said. "We expect that - regardless of political affiliation - all political bodies in Israel condemn this callous intervention of a foreign state in our internal affairs."
Lieberman is right. This is the third time today there's been an insinuation like this against him. Earlier this evening, it was reported that Netanyahu would like to replace Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party in the coalition with Livni's Kadima party. That story was also denied. And this morning there were comments about Defense Minister Ehud Barak going to Washington rather than Foreign Minister Lieberman. That was supposedly because the Americans don't like Lieberman. I actually thought he did pretty well against Clinton.

Netanyahu may be trying to keep a potentially troublesome cabinet member in line. But this is not the way to do it. Keep your dirty laundry at home and don't hang it outside your hotel room in Paris. Netanyahu should have told Sarco it was none of his business, and then insisted on moving on to something else. If he didn't do that, he owes Lieberman a public apology.

Isn't it funny how no one had problems when Olmert made the clueless and incompetent Amir "Comrade" Peretz defense minister three years ago? I wonder why.

We are not a banana republic. It's time not only for our friends to realize that, but for our own ministers to realize it too.


At 3:54 AM, Blogger Michael B said...

At the same time foreign secretaries and heads of state and their proxies (Carter) are willing, even eager, to meet with representatives of Hamas and the P.A./Fatah, they want to Lieberman pushed aside.

Provides a certain unambiguous contrast.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Netanyahu seems all to willing to please foreign governments who despise him. What doesn't seem to register with the Prime Minister is after he has gone the mile for them, they will discard him like yesterday's used dishrag. Its nothing personal; its just politics.

What could go wrong indeed

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Ashan said...

Sarko, probably Hussein/Clinton/Mitchell/Rahmbo and plenty of others who want to boss Israel around likely see Livni as a willing political whore - easily persuaded and ready to appease. And they would be right. That the fractious Kadima is not even part of Netanyahu's coalition, is an added insult. Netanyahu should demand that France remove its own pompous, clueless and horribly snide idiot Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, before moving Lieberman one inch out of his FM seat.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger mrzee said...

From insisting Israel shouldn't be allowed to control her own borders (Gaza crossings) to complaining about enforcing building regulations in Jerusalem and now trying to dictate the makeup of the Cabinet, perhaps the French should be asked to recognize Israel's right to exist. They certainly don't seem to recognize Israel's sovereignty as an independant nation.

At 11:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yep. I think Israel could do a better job of running France. I wonder if the French would mind receiving unsolicited advice from Israel on how to manage their affairs.



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