Rachel Shabi gets it wrong on Lieberman and two states

Whilst commentators are free to express skepticism over Lieberman's sincerity in supporting two states (or the feasibility, legality or ethics of what's known as 'The Lieberman Plan'), Shabi's claim that he "vowed there would never be a Palestinian state" is extremely misleading.

An op-ed by Rachel Shabi (a frequent Guardian contributor) published in the Independent on May 30th included the following claim concerning the position of Israel’s new defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on the issue of the two-state solution.

“The man now in charge of the Israeli army and the military occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank…has vowed there will never be a Palestinian state

However, the claim that Lieberman vowed “there will never be a Palestinian state” ignores positions he’s taken consistently since 2009 – covered widely in the media – that he supports the creation of a Palestinian state.  

He wrote, in a letter to the New York Jewish Week in early 2009, that he “advocates the creation of a viable Palestinian state.”  A month later, he told Time Magazine that he would evacuate his own home in the settlement of Nokdim if a peace agreement with the Palestinians is reached. 

In fact, even the Independent, in a July 17, 2012 report by Catrina Stewart (Could corruption trial stop the rise of the black sheep of Israeli politics?), acknowledged that Lieberman supports a two-state solution.

Since his appointment as Defense Minister, other media outlets have matter-of-factly noted his support for two states.  For instance, a BBC article on Lieberman’s position on May 25th notes that he “favours a two-state solution”.

In fact, on the day Shabi’s op-ed went online at the Indy, Lieberman gave a press conference where he re-affirmed his support for a two-state agreement.

Whilst commentators are free to criticize Lieberman, express skepticism over his sincerity in supporting two states or question the morality of what’s known as ‘The Lieberman Plan‘, Shabi’s claim that he “vowed there would never be a Palestinian state” is simply inaccurate.  Per the Accuracy Clause of the Editors’ Code, the passage should be revised by editors to more accurately reflect this fact.

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