by Dion Nissenbaum
"Whoever thinks that concessions ... will achieve something is wrong," Lieberman said shortly after being sworn in before a crowded room of diplomats at the Foreign Ministry. "He will bring pressures and more wars."
Lieberman made it clear that he opposes attempts to pressure
He said the joint statement at
"It has no validity," Lieberman said as Tzipi Livni, the outgoing foreign minister, who led
Lieberman, a Soviet-born former nightclub bouncer, heads the Israel Is Our Home Party, the second-largest coalition partner in the new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
At one point Livni became so angry about Lieberman's speech that she nearly rose to interrupt him.
"She was infuriated, and it was quite clear on her face," one Foreign Ministry official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the shifting political dynamics in the government.
The speech also flew in the face of statements by President Barack Obama, who's made the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a top priority in his young administration.
"It's a direct challenge to the Obama administration," said Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli political analyst and the author of "The Accidental Empire".
The State Department tried to minimize Lieberman's comments, pointing instead to Netanyahu's statements this week that he's interested in peace with the Palestinians.
"We support the two-state solution, and we will continue to work for that," State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said, speaking of the creation of a Palestinian state alongside
While Lieberman supports a two-state deal as necessary to preserve the predominant Jewish identity of
Lieberman spoke hours after Netanyahu was sworn in as
As a member of the Israeli parliament, Lieberman has suggested that Arab-Israeli lawmakers who met with the country's
Lieberman won over many voters during the recent election by focusing on a proposal, clearly aimed at
Netanyahu's main spokesman for the international media is Mark Regev, a veteran government official who served in the same role for Livni and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Regev had no comment Wednesday on Lieberman's speech.
While Lieberman eschewed the U.S.-led
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