Israel’s New Team, Already Unpopular, Indicates That Palestinians Have No Credible Negotiating Partner

To be fair, though Avigdor Lieberman often gets compared to neo-fascists like Jorg Haider, this is basically how Bill Kristol and most of the American right sees the world too:

Israel’s new hard-line foreign minister has said he opposes his predecessor’s peace talks with the Palestinians over the past year and warns that making concessions will only invite war. Avigdor Lieberman delivered his criticism during a handover ceremony at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. It was his first speech since taking office. Lieberman’s predecessor Tzipi Livni interrupted the speech to disagree with him, and Israeli diplomats shifted uncomfortably in the room as he spoke.

Ilan Goldenberg observes that “Combined with Netanyahu’s disturbing comments about Iran, the early noises out of the Israeli government are unfortunate across the board.” The flipside is that according to the latest polling “Less than a third of those surveyed said they are satisfied with Netanyahu’s government. More than half, 54 percent, are dissatisfied with the new government.”

Israelis, in other words, are not on the whole nearly this nutty. Which I think makes the case that it’s important for Western governments, most of all the United States of America, to not pretend that this Israeli government is anything other than what it is. A government headed by a Prime Minister who wants to bomb Iran, who thinks he can dictate regional strategy to the President of the United States, and who opposes the creation of an independent Palestinian state backed up by a main coalition partner who rejects the concept of land-of-peace and the basic precepts of liberal democracy is just not a government you can work with as an ally. People keep saying that Netanyahu is more pragmatic than his rhetoric but if so he needs to demonstrate that pragmatism fast, or else the world will just have to hope his coalition collapse sooner rather than later.