Avigdor Lieberman

Photo: EPA

“I am sure Lieberman would be very happy to have an alliance with Russia. But I am not sure that the interests of these two countries are more compatible than the interests of Israel and the US. Maybe they are also thinking of China but I would say the same thing. It would be very nice for Israel to have all kinds of alliances”, Yoav Peled professor at Tel Aviv University, Department of Political Science, told The Voice of Russia.

Israel should look beyond the United States and foster alliances with other countries. That’s according to the country’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman who spoke at a recent Society Conference. He also said that Israel could not rely only on the United States as Washington was struggling to cope with a number of national and international troubles.

According to Liberman, “the Americans today are dealing with too many challenges and. They are busy in Iran and North Korea and also have economic and immigration problems. ”

Lieberman said that Israel “must first of all look to have relationships with countries that do not need financial assistance, that don’ have problems in the international arena, and don’t depend on the Islamic-Arabic world.”

He pointed out that Israel’s foreign policy “needs to focus on finding allies and not just complaining and saying “come support us.”

Recent media reports speculated that Israel was allegedly negotiating a possible diplomatic alliance with several Gulf and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, to create a united diplomatic front against Iran.

Lieberman’s comments came as US-Israel relations have grown bitter over nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group. The topic was high on the agenda of Wednesday’s meeting in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Yoav Peled professor at Tel Aviv University, Department of Political Science, comments.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday that Tel Aviv should look beyond the United States and foster alliances with other countries. In this vein, can we now speak about Israel’s U-turn in its foreign policy?

I am sure Lieberman would be very happy to have an alliance with Russia. But I am not sure that the interests of these two countries are more compatible than the interests of Israel and the US. Maybe they are also thinking of China but I would say the same thing. It would be very nice for Israel to have all kinds of alliances. The question is what commonality of interests does Israel have with any major power other than the US.

Does Lieberman’s latest statement reflect a chill in US-Israeli relations?

It certainly reflects a tension, the tension stems from two fronts, one of course is the negotiations over Iran in which I think Russia is not different in its position than the US, If anything I am sure Russia would like even more to have an agreement with Iran, and the other one is of course the so-called peace process with the Palestinians where Israel is very concerned that the US might force it to make any concessions to the Palestinians, which of course is the main thing that Israel wants to avoid.

What would that be if that was to happen?

You could think of all kinds of things and the last time that the US pressured Israel on that front was in 1991 by president George Bush the father when he said that Israel will not get the 10 billion dollar loan guarantees that would help absorb the immigrants from Russia unless it stops settlement activity and this brought current government of the time, the government of Shamir down and led to the victory of Akbar Rafsanjani in the elections of 1992. It was the last time that there was any pressure from the US, considerably it could do the same now. I don’t think politically this is very realistic.

How do you think these relations will develop in the future?

I think they will overcome the tension. I think there will be some agreement with Iran. I don’t think Israel can prevent that anymore. And on the Palestinian front I don’t think anything will happen. I think these current negotiations will end up with nothing but everyone will simply go forward from there and nothing will happen.

Can you comment on recent media reports speculating that Israel is allegedly negotiating a possible diplomatic alliance with several Gulf and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia?

They are not negotiating diplomatic alliance, they are negotiating the military alliance in case Israel decides to attack Iran unilaterally which of course will be totally crazy idea. I don’t think those Arab countries can form open diplomatic relations with Israel given the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories but behind the scenes it is true that the Gulf states in Israel have an interest in trying to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.