A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Believe Me, America Accepts All Our Decisions"

Avigdor Lieberman, in his first full-scale interview since becoming Israel's Foreign Minister, has said that the US will not put forth peace initiatives unless Israel agrees, and said, "Believe me, America accepts all our decisions."

Professors Mearsheimer and Walt must be feeling vindicated right about now. Lieberman seems to be saying Israel is directing US policy on the Middle East. Whatever one may think of the power of the "Israel lobby," it is a rather undiplomatic boast to be coming from Israel's Foreign Minister. I suspect this quote will soon be all over the Arab press. It's too blatant to let pass without comment.

The Haaretz story on this says that while ‘Omar Suleiman is coming to Israel, there were "no plans" for him to meet Lieberman, seeming to contradict the reports yesterday that he would do so. [UPDATED: They met.]

The signals coming from Netanyahu and Lieberman on the one hand and from Obama, George Mitchell and Rahm Emanuel in recent days on the other suggest that the US and Israel are really talking past each other at the moment. None of this augurs well for progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track, or the more potentially explosive issue of a possible Israeli strike on Iran. And Lieberman's remark suggests a tendency to assume that the US will take its lead from Israel on Middle East policies. That may have been true at times, but the Obama Administration seems to be signalling that it's not true now.


freude bud said...

"That may had been true at times," ... did you mean to leave that thought unfinished?

Michael Collins Dunn said...

Thanks. Thought now completed.