Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called US Secretary of State John Kerry “a true friend” on Friday, and expressed support for his efforts to broker peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“I want to make something clear,” said Liberman to a trade conference at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv: “Kerry is a true friend of Israel. What’s the point of turning friends into enemies?
“John Kerry is leading the process correctly,” he continued. “We are now creating principles with the Americans in order to negotiate directly with the Palestinians, based on them.”
Liberman indicated that he considered the Kerry framework could eventually facilitate the exchange of populated territories for an amended Israeli border with a Palestinian state, as he has long advocated. There has been no indication to this effect from Kerry, however, and the Israeli government has never endorsed Liberman’s call for Arab-populated parts of Israel to be swapped with the Palestinians in exchange for Israel gaining sovereign control over major Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank.
Liberman also denounced Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett’s attacks on Kerry. “We don’t agree with Kerry on everything. This, too, is nothing new. Kerry is not a Gush Emunim [settlement] activist and he has the right to a different opinion than our bellicose friend Naftali Bennett.”
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