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Liberman: Israel's 'bad cop' returns

The return of Avigdor Liberman as foreign minister spells trouble for the peace talks.
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (C) wears a prayer shawl as he arrives at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City, following his acquittal in a corruption trial November 6, 2013. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Lieberman back to government on Wednesday after the ultra-nationalist politician was acquitted of corruption charges. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW RELIGION) - RTX1523P
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My acquaintances in the Palestinian Authority’s public relations department in Ramallah shed no tears yesterday, Nov. 6, when they heard about the court’s decision to acquit former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. They have felt the absence of their neighbor’s No. 1 anti-diplomat and have longed for the days in which Liberman, with his special knack, would scratch the flesh-toned powder that covered the prime minister’s face whenever Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned the term “permanent arrangement.” As a senior official in the Mukataa once told me, “We can cut the cost of our own foreign minister. Liberman does the job for us much better than Riyad al-Maliki.”

With his acquittal, Israel once again has a salesman for whom the state’s customers around the world refuse to even open their doors. Liberman is officially a persona non grata in the neighboring Arab states of Egypt and Jordan. Though his deputy Zeev Elkin filled the position impressively as the far right’s messenger in the Foreign Service, within political circles there is no substitute for Liberman’s uninhibited tongue, which lashes out fearlessly at the gentiles.

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