Skip to main content

Will Israel move from occupation to annexation?

Palestinian officials fear that the appointment of hawkish Yisrael Beitenu head Avigdor Liberman as defense minister signals an Israeli policy leap from occupation of Palestinian territories toward annexation policies.
Israel's former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (R) delivers a speech during a convention at Kibbutz Shefayim north of Tel Aviv January 2, 2013. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo - RTSFVZO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising turn in appointing Avigdor Liberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, as defense minister May 25 caught the international community off-guard. In the days before the appointment, intense deliberations took place about the upcoming Quartet report on obstacles in the way of a two-state solution and the Paris conference to relaunch a two-state process. The deliberations were based on the assumption that Netanyahu was on his way to enlarging his government with the moderate center-left Zionist Camp and Isaac Herzog as foreign minister in charge of peace negotiations.

A senior official at EU headquarters dealing with the Middle East peace process told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that there was a new, although brief, sense of optimism in European capitals that Netanyahu would, at the very least, engage in the beginning of a two-state solution process and restrain settlement expansion.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.