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Israeli Foreign Minister’s UN Speech Raises Domestic Tension

[News and Analysis] There are arguably few democratic nations that would allow the spectacle of its foreign minister delivering an address on the world’s premier international stage that diverged significantly from the policies of his prime minister. Even less likely is that such a scenario could play out with the nation already under diplomatic assault and at a time when existential aspects of its future are being debated. So even those who have come to expect the unexpected from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were nonplussed by Avigdor Lieberman’s speech to the United Nations that squarely disputed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s insistence that peace can be reached with the Palestinians. Lieberman said it’s “unrealistic” to think that peace is possible without a long interim period to build trust in a new generation. Lieberman’s comments created a furor within Israel, but few debated the efficacy of his substantive plan, but rather focused on calls from the left for his dismissal from the government and comments from independent observers who opine that the last thing Netanyahu needs at the moment is domestic political warfare. Yet, there are those who suggest that Lieberman is providing a service to Netanyahu, placing ideas into the national debate that Netanyahu himself cannot. The White House unconvincingly dismissed Lieberman’s comments by saying it speaks with Netanyahu and [Defense Minister] Barak, leaving some to suggest an arbitrariness or bias in electing to speak with left-wing Barak and not right-wing Lieberman.