YNET is reporting that past Israeli foreign ministers do not think that incoming Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will hurt Israel's international relations. They say relations are not based on Lieberman, but the government he is representing. Good point. Dovish former Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami is quoted as saying, "We will not reach a point of being ostracized. Anyone who hasn't boycotted Hamas, Hizbullah and the Taliban, will not boycott Lieberman." Okay, maybe that's not the best example, as the US, EU, and Quartet are all boycotting Hamas and supported wars against Hizbullah and the Taliban. But the broader point seems reasonable enough.
Unfortunately, for the incoming Netanyahu administration, their problems don't end with Lieberman. Just yesterday it came to light that incoming national security adviser, Uzi Arad, has been barred from entering the US for the past two years because of the AIPAC espionage case. Today, Paul Woodward has a great post on Arad and the views he will be providing to Netanyahu. Woodward has dug up this interview that Arad did the the Israeli settler news service Arutz Sheva where he gave his thoughts on the two-state solution:
I don’t think that one has to go that far because at the end of the day, I don’t think the majority of Israelis want to see themselves responsible for the Palestinians. We do not want to control the Palestinian population. It’s unnecessary. What we do want is to care for our borders, for the Jewish settlements and for areas which are unpopulated and to have our security interests served well. But also to take under our responsibility these populations which, believe me, are not the most productive on earth, would become a burden. We want to relieve ourselves of the burden of the Palestinian populations – not territories. It is territory we want to preserve, but populations we want to rid ourselves of.
Emphasis mine. Arad is articulating a widespread Israeli strategic objective of controlling as much land as possible while maintaining a Jewish majority. Of course, it's also a call for ethnic cleansing. Afif Safieh, the former PLO representative to Washington, used to say that Israel wants the geography without the demography.
In the end, I agree with the past foreign ministers. Lieberman is not the issue, it is the government that he will be representing. And that should be reason enough for the US to reevaluate its relationship with Israel.