Is Israel preparing for war? Trend News commentator

Trend Middle East Desk Commentator Ulviyya Sadikhova

Avigdor Lieberman's position in the negotiations with Palestinians reminds a scene of preparing for a new war in the Middle East, in which Israel intends to destroy all rivals in the region. However, it is not excluded that the country will have to conduct this war alone.

This week, a strong opponent of establishing the independent Palestinian state, leader of the right-wing "Our House - Israel" Party and Foreign Minister Lieberman has refused from the Arabian peace initiative which was the Arab countries' last chance for truce and comprised interests of the majority Arab states in future relations with Israel.

Lieberman rejected the initiative by calling it as "a recipe for Israel's destruction" and made it clear that the United States does not dictate in a peace process unlike left forces' previous periods in the country. Several hours ago, Barack Obama called the Arabian plan "the most constructive one in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the present" in the meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan who was the first Arabian leader visiting the United States.

Lieberman worries about an article of the initiative on million of Palestinian refugees' right to return to the occupied territories which means end of expanding the Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Before the pre-election campaign, the Israeli media reported that Lieberman intends to expand the Jewish settlement in the Bank from 40 percent to 70 percent, if he is elected the minister.

A positive point in Lieberman's position is that he obviously made it clear that all achievements in the negotiations with Palestinians - the Annapolis peace process, Arabian initiative, as well as negotiations under mediation of the United States and Europe was just a waste of time. Lieberman urged Palestinians and the U.S. to realize fiasco in the negotiations with Ehud Olmert's government and begin to develop a new plan.

The latest war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement in Gaza Strip testifies failure of the peace process. Although Hamas's missile shots made Israel to commence military operations, it should be noted that majority of the region's population supports Hamas which is a part of the Palestinian government. Therefore, if the negotiations between moderate Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas were fruitful, Israel could find a justice on Hamas not via a military way.

However, Lieberman offers to forget a desire to sign an armistice under the outdated conditions and attempts and launch a dialogue from a zero - to lay a ground for future Palestinian state: stable economy and security service.

Israel fears that despite a strong strike over Hamas's military infrastructure and closing ways to deliver the Iranian weapon to Gaza, the movement maintained a control over security in the region. Israel understands that Hamas's military preference over moderate Fatah forces can enable it to win the presidential elections to be held in January 2010.

However, Lieberman's "candor" in his position in the peace process caused agiotage in the Arabian and western world which is not ready to changes in the negotiations which are guessed by Israel.
First, the United States must solve the economic crisis, cancel operations in Iraq and strengthen in Afghanistan. Therefore, it will be better for Washington to get off with an agreement for previous conditions in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. Furthermore, Barack Obama demonstrated his seeking to hold a dialogue with the Muslim world during his Turkey visit which was the first visit to the Muslim country, as the way of this dialogue is directly connected with the Palestinian problem.

 Lieberman's statement is as a double-edged weapon: to launch a peace process from a zero for which both the Arabian countries and U.S. do not have time, force and money, or to solve this issue through a military way which is more possible.

For strategic partnership with the U.S., Netanyahu prefers to keep silence on Lieberman's position, but he will have to demonstrate his position in the negotiations soon. Nobody agrees on "neither war, nor peace" state: neither Israeli foreign political forces, nor Arabian world.
Justly, Egypt invites the Israeli premier to the country to clarify Netanyahu's position and take concrete steps in the relations with Israel.

It is not excluded that Netanyahu will support Lieberman in canceling the peace process, as he understands the current government is one of unstable ones in Israel. Many analysts believe that it will be in power not more than a year.

Therefore, Lieberman wants to cancel the "peace process" game as soon as possible and take concrete steps to protect the Israeli interests, especially when the country faces with a threat of the Iranian nuclear program. The first task is to solve the problem with Hamas which is Iran's bulwark in Palestine. The Israeli and Arabian political circles realize that they are not a group of fighters for independence how it was in the early 1990s and committed hundreds of terrorism attacks, but a well-organized political party.

Although the pro-western Arabian countries urge Hamas to hold the unified position with the governing Fatah in the negotiations with Israel, they understand that only the movement's army can militarily resist to Israel.

While international disputes were held to reach the long-expected armistice in the region, Hamas reinforced its military arsenal with arm deliveries from Iran via the Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

Europe also realizes that the less it ignores Hamas, the fewer chances it will have to achieve a slight stability in the region. The United Kingdom which earlier announced about beginning a dialogue with Hezbollah decided to launch negotiations with Hamas. Head of the Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mashaal will visit London, the Arabian media reported without details of the visit.

Moreover, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also stated about possibility to launch a dialogue with Hamas, if it recognizes Israel as the Jewish state. Although members of the movement immediately refused from Clinton's conditions, it testifies that the U.S. realizes it will be inevitable to negotiate with Hamas in future.

But even if Israel dares to a new war with the Palestinian groupings, they will have to rely only on own forces. The European countries have indicated that any support in this issue will be out of question, if Israel resumes military operations in Gaza. Norwegian lawyers charged the Olmert government of using illegal weapons in the Gaza war. Moreover,Sweden Foreign Ministry official Robert Rydberg said that the EU can freeze cooperation with Israel, if it refuses to form a Palestinian state.

But the UK caused the most unexpected surprise by stating that it will re-consider the arm supply to Israel, when it was revealed that the British arm components were used in the Gaza war. British Foreign Minister David Miliband said all defense deals with Israel will be implemented by taking the recent military conflict into account.

Therefore, Israel will thoroughly weigh everything before commencing a war against Hamas. At present the country will have to make a choice between maintaining trade cooperation with the EU and military - with the U.S. instead recognizing a Palestinian state, and challenging rivals to the next duel.

Although, Israel probably will prefer to put an end to the Iranian dominance in the region, regarding Iran's desire to commence a war against Israel.
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