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The Trial of Avigdor Lieberman

The outcome of the trial of former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman might shake not only Israeli politics but the stability of the whole region. 
Avigdor Lieberman, former Israeli foreign minister, looks on in the courtroom before the opening hearing of his trial at Jerusalem's magistrate court February 17, 2013. Lieberman's trial began in Jerusalem on Sunday and he pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust, allegations that prompted his resignation as foreign minister in December. REUTERS/Ariel Schalit/Pool (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW) - RTR3DWUI
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It would be hard to find more fickle, erratic and unpredictable politics than Israel’s. But even by its own standards, Israeli politics, as reflected in the former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman case, breaks new records of bizarreness befitting a tawdry Latin American telenovela. Yet this affair, however preposterous, carries many implications that could affect the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. And this is where it stops being funny.

Former and possibly future Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman appeared Wednesday [May 29] before three judges in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court and took the witness stand. Testifying for seven hours, he did not lose his composure, making jokes and sporting good humor. He did what he does so well. His testimony will continue at the court’s next session after which the “defense will rest.” Then, the judges will retire to their chambers and later this summer seal Lieberman’s fate and possibly that of his party, Yisrael Beitenu. They may even seal the fate of the succession battle in the post-[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu Likud party, and possibly the diplomatic process and the ever-so-high chances of conflagration in the Middle East. There’s Lieberman for you. He has his finger in every pie.

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