Now Lieberman can get back to work, but one party leader in Israel says he “lacks inhibitions and sows discord,” hardly the skills of diplomacy needed in a difficult time for Israel with conflicts in Syria, crisis in Iran, and rebuilding in Iraq and Egypt all around.
A Russian-speaking immigrant from the former Soviet Union who lives in a settlement in the West Bank, Mr. Lieberman was foreign minister in the previous Israeli government from 2009 to late 2012, a tenure marked by several episodes that critics deemed highly undiplomatic. Famously skeptical of the prospects of reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, Mr. Lieberman, a hard-line populist, accused the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, of engaging in “diplomatic terrorism.”
Last year, addressing an audience of foreign diplomats in Israel, Mr. Lieberman gave vent to his government’s anger over European support for diplomatic gains by the Palestinians at the United Nations and over international rebukes for Israeli settlement plans. Comparing Israel’s situation to that of Czechoslovakia in 1938 before the Nazi invasion, he said, “When push comes to shove, many key leaders would be willing to sacrifice Israel without batting an eyelid in order to appease Islamic radicals and ensure quiet for themselves.”
All this is happening as Israel deepens its diplomatic relationship with none else other than China, starting with weapons and now with trade in technology investment.