Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday declared that the land-for-peace formula for ending the Middle East conflict has failed and that the time has come to either trade peace for peace, or for Israel to defeat its enemies.
Speaking at a meeting of his Israel Beiteinu Party, Lieberman said, "It's time to forget our obsession with territory in exchange for peace; all future agreements must be based on 'peace in exchange for peace.'"
Lieberman is not the first Israeli official to point out that every land concessions Israel has made up until now has only resulted in increased violence and hostility on the part of the Arabs. In an interview that will appear in the upcoming issue of Israel Today, former Arkansas governor and US presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said the same thing.
Lieberman continued by noting that the most important thing has always been, and must remain, the defense of Israel's right to exist.
"Peace is in fact our heart's desire, but it is not more important than Israel's existence as the state of the Jewish people or than lasting security for its citizens. We extend our hand in peace to enemies, but as long as they choose the path of war, we must be firm, return battle, and defeat the enemy," said Lieberman. "We must strive for victory instead of talking about possible compromise, interpreted as weakness by our enemies."
Lieberman's remarks have thrown Israel's left-wing opposition and left-wing parties that are in the current government into a frenzy. They insist that the true obstacle to peace is Lieberman himself, and that if their own policies of surrendering land were only given more time, peace could be achieved.