Cabinet steps back from Lieberman's outburst on Turkey

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak yesterday moved to countermand outspoken remarks by his Foreign Ministry colleague Avigdor Lieberman denouncing the Turkish government for "lies" and dismissing prospects of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Mr Barak called pointedly for a defusing of tensions with Turkey, caused by the deaths of nine of its nationals during the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May.

And he insisted on the need for Israel and the Palestinians to resume their stalled negotiations.

In a calculatedly off-message speech to Israeli diplomats on Sunday night Mr Lieberman– who heads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party – described Turkey's demand for an apology for the Mavi Mamara shootings as "beyond chutzpah".

And he declared his opposition to any peace deal with the "illegitimate" Palestinian Authority government, declaring that if it was offered territory that included Tel Aviv "they would find a reason not to sign a peace agreement".

Mr Lieberman took some of his senior officials aback by revealing that he was preparing an interim "Plan B" of his own for negotiations with the Palestinians and that full peace would only be reached when the gulf between their economy and Israel's had been closed.

As after a similar public breach with stated Israeli government policy in Mr Lieberman's speech to the UN General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to show his lack of will to fire him and put his right wing-dominated coalition at risk. He contented himself with a statement from his office, saying the remarks reflected Mr Lieberman's "own preparations and positions", and that government policy was "that voiced by [Mr] Netanyahu and manifested by cabinet resolutions". This prompted opposition leader Tzipi Livni to tell Army Radio: "Netanyahu is not prepared to break his ties with any of his natural partners because he is concerned with his personal future, not with the future of Israel.

"He might be making a wise political move, but we are all paying the price. If Lieberman revealed anything today, it is the real face of Netanyahu."

Mr Lieberman's remarks coincided with delicate efforts between the governments of both countries to achieve some form of reconciliation in the wake of the deep post-Mavi Marmara crisis, which resulted in Turkey withdrawing its ambassador. The talks have centred on possible compensation for the families of the Turks killed in the raid and Turkey's demand for an apology.

Mr Lieberman was partly reacting to a suggestion by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davotoglu that Israel would not have come as promptly to Turkey's aid as Turkey did to Israel's during this month's Carmel hills forest fire.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before