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Uri Avnery

4.4.09


Who’s The Boss?


ON THE first day of the new Israeli government, the fog cleared: it’s a Lieberman government.


The day started with a celebration at the President’s office. All the members of this bloated government – 30 ministers and 8 deputy ministers – were dressed up in their best finery and posed for a group photo. Binyamin Netanyahu read an uninspired speech, which included the worn-out cliches that are necessary to set the world at ease: the government is committed to peace, it will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, bla-bla-bla.


Avigdor Lieberman hurried from there to the foreign Office, for the ceremonial change of ministers. He, too, made a speech – but it was not a routine speech at all.


Si vis pacem, para bellum – if you want peace, prepare for war,” declared the new Foreign Minister. When a diplomat quotes this ancient Roman saying, the world pays no attention to the first part, but only to the second. Coming from the mouth of the already infamous Lieberman, it was a clear threat: the new government is entering upon a path of war, not of peace.


With this sentence, Lieberman negated Netanyahu’s speech and made headlines around the world. He confirmed the worst apprehensions connected with the creation of this government.


Not content with quoting the Romans, he explained specifically why he used this motto. Concessions, he said, do not bring peace, but quite the reverse. The world respected and admired Israel when it won the Six-day war.

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