Barak Ravid
November 13, 2009 - 1:00am

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has set priorities for his ministry that apparently are at odds with those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Netanyahu is trying to convince U.S. President Barack Obama that he is sincere about advancing the peace process on the principle of two states for two peoples, the foreign ministry's written goals don't even mention the word "Palestinians."

The ministry has also dropped assisting Israelis abroad from its list of goals.

Foreign Ministry director general Yossi Gal recently distributed a document detailing the ministry's goals for 2010 to Israeli embassies around the world. The goals are significantly different than those the ministry espoused during previous foreign minister Tzipi Livni's term, especially regarding the peace process.

Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan University speech, outlining his vision for the Middle East and his agreement to establishing a Palestinian state, is hardly reflected at all in the document. Nor are Netanyahu's statements about wanting to renew the talks with Syria and establish diplomatic relations with the Arab states.

The words "Palestinian state," "Syria" or "final status agreement" do not appear in the document.

Under the title heading the list - "strengthening national security" come secondary goals such as managing conflicts, advancing peace agreements and processes, strengthening deterrence, and fighting the delegitimization of Israel.

In Livni's era the ministry's top priorities were advancing the peace process and enlisting moderate Arab states to the process.

The second goal remains thwarting the Iranian threat. Under the third, strengthening ties with Arab states has dropped from the top of the list to the bottom. Instead, Israel's relations with new powers Brazil, Russia, China and Latin American and African states are the top priorities.

Public diplomacy and Israel's image in the world come fourth on the ministry's priorities list.

Lieberman introduced a new goal called "international law," perhaps as a result of the Operation Cast Lead and the subsequent Goldstone report.

The document says the ministry will act to expand legal battles against non-governmental organizations that criticize Israel throughout the world and try to dissuade key states from filing legal suits against senior Israeli figures traveling abroad.

In recent years, assisting Israelis abroad, especially in case of emergency or distress, was one of the ministry's prime goals. This year the ministry dropped this from the list.


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