Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday called for peace treaties between Israel and the citizens of its Arab neighbors, bypassing agreements signed by political leaders like the ones that have been forged to date.
“Until today, the peace agreements Israel signed with its neighbors weren’t agreements with countries or citizens but rather agreements between the State of Israel and the rulers of those countries,” Liberman said.
“These agreements did not bring about reconciliation between peoples and genuine peace with solid foundations,” he added. “In light of this, the future requires the signing of agreements between peoples and not between rulers, agreements that will be supported by the public and opinion makers and will lead to true reconciliation between peoples through education for tolerance, respect and cooperation, instead of continued hatred for Israel and Jews.”
Liberman made the comments in a conversation with the foreign policy chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, during a visit to Brussels.
The foreign minister also asked Ashton for the EU’s “intervention” regarding the ruling party of Tunisia’s reported desire to include in the country’s constitution a clause saying that any normalization with Israel would constitute a criminal offense. He also reiterated his request that the EU designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, the foreign minister of Cyprus, which presently holds the EU presidency, rejected Liberman’s petition, citing disagreement among member states.
Ashton’s office did not issue any statement about her meeting with Liberman. On Tuesday, during the 11th annual meeting of the EU–Israel Association Council, a statement was released saying that the changes occuring in the wake of the Arab Spring “will take time” and that “new turbulences” are possible.
“The fundamental changes in the Arab world highlight the need for progress on the Middle East Peace Process and for overcoming the current stalemate, while respecting previous agreements and obligations,” the statement read.