Israel’s right-wing new Foreign Minister begins a four-nation tour of Europe today, trying to ease concerns over his government’s stance towards a future Palestinian state. Avigdor Liebermann will not offer any breakthroughs, but hopes to buy Israel time to consolidate its regional policy.
The European Union has linked improved ties with Israel to a committment to a two-state solution. But the Czech Republic, the current holder of the EU Presidency and a close friend of Israel, insisted the peace process was not dependent on good relations with the EU. Israel sees Europe, with its growing Muslim minorities, as generally pro-Arab. In reality everyone is waiting for President Obama to take the lead. The peace process, such as it is, has largely been on hold since Israel’s assault on Gaza three months ago, and then the Jewish state’s election. The international community pledged billions for reconstruction back in January, but the continued closure of Gaza’s border crossings has meant work has barely begun.