Palestinians have reacted angrily to comments from Israel’s new foreign minister on the question of a future Palestinian state.
Only hours after taking office, ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman said Israel was not bound by a deal to start talks on establishing a separate state. He said the US-sponsored Annapolis declaration of 2007 has no validity, having never been ratified by the government or parliament. He said there was only one document that Israel was bound to: the so-called Road Map for peace, agreed to in 2003. This obliges Palestinian leaders to curb attacks on Israel before any negotiations begin. Observers say this blunt message, so soon from the new government, raises the prospects of tension with Washington, which backs a two-state solution. Palestinian leaders say Lieberman’s comments threaten regional stability and the US must come out and make its opposition clear. Washington reacted by saying the US was committed to working vigorously for a two-state solution, and it looked forward to having frank discussions with the new Israeli government.