The next government should focus on solving domestic problems and not invest heavily in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman said on Thursday morning.
Liberman told Israel Radio the three likeliest coalition members, Likud-Beytenu, newcomers Yesh Atid and the nationalist Jewish Home parties would only find common ground on domestic issues, including drafting the ultra-Orthodox, and thus should focus on those rather than the Palestinian issue.
“We want a strong and stable government,” Liberman said. “If it’s up to me, the focus will be on domestic issues,” he said.
Liberman stepped down late last year after being indicted on fraud charges. He has said he would like to return to the foreign ministry should he be cleared.
The Yisrael Beytenu head said Lapid, whose Yesh Atid won 19 seats, was set to be the most significant partner if he joined the Likud-led coalition.
Liberman said he expected Yesh Atid to take portfolios related to domestic issues.
For the duration of the election campaign Lapid talked “about housing costs, the middle class and equal distribution of the burden. He has a responsibility to those people,” Liberman said, adding “the Treasury, Education Ministry and Interior Ministry could be in his sights.”
Anyone who agreed to deal with the three main domestic issues could join the coalition, Liberman answered when asked whether Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua would be part of the government, avoiding the issue of the obvious gap between his and her parties regarding the Palestinian conflict.
Livni, who served as foreign minister before Liberman, reportedly nearly reached a deal with the Palestinians. Under Liberman, however, high-level talks have been nearly nonexistent.
Liberman blamed the stall in negotiations with the Palestinians on Ramallah, saying it refused to come to the table. He also said the world was too focused on the issue.
“There are dozens of Palestinians being murdered and tens of thousands being expelled from their homes only 200 kilometers from us near Damascus, and the world is silent,” Liberman said.