Sept.21, 2010

Israel Public Relations Minister Yuli Edelstein bitterly assailed his coalition partner, Israel Defense Minister, Ehud

Barak, fearing that Barak might try to promote an independent policy decision of his own to extend the construction freeze in Judea and

Samaria. The defense minister is presently visiting Washington and is discussing the construction freeze there. Yesterday he met at the

White House with National Security Adviser James Jones, and told him that “the decisions facing Israel and the Palestinians are far more

important, dramatic and historic than the issue of construction in Judea and Samaria.”

“I have been warning for months now of a situation in which

instead of a de jure construction freeze we get a de facto one, and I

have grave concerns about what is going on in the course of these

trips of Barak. One must remember that Barak is fighting for his

political life and might therefore take action that is good for Barak

but harmful for Israel. I truly hope that the defense minister did

not go to the United States to reach agreements to which the

government has not agreed, because if he does reach any such

agreements we will know how to torpedo them. I am a cabinet minister,

but I still don’t know what the contents of the agreements Barak has

reached with the Americans are. I can say that if these agreements

deviate from the security cabinet’s decisions stipulating that at the

end of the moratorium construction will be resumed to its scope in

the time of previous government, then these agreements do not oblige

the cabinet and we will act to bring the entire matter before the

cabinet.” […]

At the same time Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman continued to

put a damper on the political fervor presently igniting the region.

Lieberman met yesterday in Prague with Czech Prime Minister Petr

Necas as well as other government officials. Repeating sentiments he

had aired two days before in Israel, Lieberman told his hosts that

Israel and the Palestinians must reach a long-term interim agreement:

“any attempt to artificially rush is the equivalent of a premature

birth that puts both sides at risk, both the mother and the baby.

Also in this case the process must be advanced naturally.” […]